Book Review: Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth

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I am so excited to write and share about Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth because it is by far one of my favorite books on birth.  It is full of information that can be easily understood by people who do not have a medical degree, it is evidence based and will not scare the socks off of you!  She is reaching out to all moms to help them have the best birth for THEM.  You don’t have to want to have your baby at home, in a field or even in a birth center to enjoy this book.  Wherever you are birthing you should have all the information to make an educated decision that is best for you and your family.

First lets talk about who Ina May Gaskin is. Basically, she is a hippy who traveled with a caravan in the 70’s that began catching each others babies. She then went on to reinvent the idea of midwifery in the United States.  The caravan from California to Tennessee Caravanwas quite the scene with 60 buses, vans, and trucks.  The first birth that she attended was on the caravan and she stepped in while her husband Stephen went to go speak.  From there with the help of many people along the way some of the ladies in the caravan began studying midwifery.  They settled in their intentional community (village) and named it The Farm.  It is still there today, where families live in a more self supported lifestyle than when it was founded, and you can go to The Farm Midwifery Center for prenatal care and your birth.  The first book she wrote was Spiritual Midwifery which was a collection of stories from the births that they had at the farm (or in the caravan on the way) and then some other helpful teaching at the end.  Now, I’m pretty “crunchy” and natural minded but even I wasn’t prepared for some of the stories in this book!  I had a few giggles and whoa moments but I also gained a lot of knowledge and an appreciation for a group of people that really TRUST birth.

After reading Spiritual Midwifery I decided to read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.  It was a little more tame in the story telling and was full of very helpful information to help families learn about all their options and then be able to decided what was best for them.  I have truly loved this book and it shows.

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This is my well worn copy.

The first half of the book is all birth stories.  They are from the 1970’s to the 2000’s and are filled with many different experiences. The birth stories range from two doctors who were training to be obstetricians (who decided to deliver at the Farm) to the daughters and daughter in laws of people who were born on the Farm.  They are amazing stories of fast and slow births, ones where the baby was in a hurry to come earth side and ones where families worked very very hard to get them here. Some of the women had less than ideal births for one or more of their children and then choose loving and supportive providers for the later ones and some who have only known the peaceful and calm presence of devoted midwives in their homes.  In this book there are even a couple stories where things transpired and the baby or the laboring mom needed to be transported.  I think the reason for all the birth stories is because pregnant woman are bombarded by birth stories all the time.  People see their round belly and cannot wait to tell them their tale or the tale of their friend or family member.  The problem is,  a lot of those stories are very negative and highlighted by our American views on childbirth (its an illness, horrible, excruciatingly painful, inductions, cesareans and overall lack of trust for what women were designed to do).  When women hear these stories over and over they begin to believe them.  Reading through these stories is such an encouragement for women to hear other moms that did it and loved it! Not that it wasn’t hard or painful, but worth it.  The women in this book aren’t superhuman or made any different than you or I. They are just women with all the same parts who have made a conscious effort to be present in their birth and to make the healthiest choices based on their own situations.

The second part of her book is called “The Essentials of Birth” with chapters like: The Powerful Mind/Body Connection, What happens in Labor, Sphincter Law and Forgotten Vaginal Powers and Episiotomy!  She just begins to break every part of labor down, every intervention, every option into little pieces that we can understand and digest.  As she walks through each step it is a guide to help you ask questions and make decisions about your journey.  Starting with preparing your mind,  prenatal care, going into labor and all the options and interventions, pushing, vaginal births after cesareans and choosing your provider.  When reading some childbirth books it is easy to become scared of something as simple as taking a bath! Ina May shares with the grace and wisdom of an older woman in your life, one whom you trust because she is so real.  When reading I can hear her voice and see her sincerely talking to women like she was sitting with them having coffee truly hoping they would listen.  Her agenda is very clear, its not more money for the Farm or more accolades, it is that in a country that spends millions on healthcare why are so many mothers and babies suffering physically and emotionally from their births and how can we fix it. This book isn’t just filled with opinions and ideals but also sound scientific evidence and transparency on all parts.  Here is a small section of the book that I think sums up the whole book.

             “Over forty years of experience as a midwife have not lessened my awe and respect for the efficiency and beautiful design of the female body as expressed in labor and birth.  In fact, the years only increase my sense of wonder about how well our bodies can work- given the right circumstances. The outcomes of our births at the Farm Midwifery Center demonstrate how rare it is for complications and difficulties to occur when women are properly prepared for birth and when technological interventions are kept to a minimum- that is, used only when necessary.  Ninety-four percent of women gave birth at home or at our birth center.  Fewer than two percent had cesareans.  Fewer than one percent had their babies delivered by forceps or vacuum extractors.” – Ina May Gaskin

When we have providers who work from an evidence based mindset and practice a high touch care it really can make a significant difference in the outcomes of birth.  Families have to understand their choices and stand up for them.  Sometimes it’s to family and friends when they ask about your birth plans, sometimes it’s to a provider you have to leave because they are unwilling to change their approach, and sometimes it’s even a battle in your own mind to overcome what we have seen on tv or heard, but really to look inside and find the courage to keep going.

I recommend this book to EVERY pregnant woman.  Please read and take to heart the words there.  Prepare your mind and body for the amazing experience ahead of you and your precious baby.

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Our newest addition

Meet Pepper!!

She is the newest addition to the H’s!  She was hanging around and IMG_4701wouldn’t leave my cousins and needed a home.  After some discussion with Corey, we broke down and decided to  go get her. She is still a puppy so we are hopeful we can do some good training and she will be a welcomed member of the household and not a bother.  She appears to be German Short Haired Pointer mix.  We will visit the vet soon to get her all checked out, but until then the kids are having so much fun with her.  She has as much energy as them so I think this is going to be a wonderful tool for them to wear each other out.   She is also going to be a lesson in responsibility for the kids.  They will be in charge of feeding and watering, being sure she goes out to potty and helping train her.  With all that is going on around here I’m not sure if this is the dumbest idea we have had or at this point if it really makes a difference. We got a crate to do crate training, but today’s grocery list includes quite a few Pepper items: Chew toys, balls, animals (so she isn’t eating the kids stuffed animals) and I am also going to check out amazon for her dog food. If you have any recommendations on healthy dog food options I would love to hear them.  We haven’t had a dog in a while so it feels like starting over again.  We are thankful to give her a home with a family that will love and care for her.  Welcome to your new home sweet Pepper and may you love and teach us as much as we can you!IMG_4685

 

Why 31 Stitches?

You might be wondering why in the world a doula would include the word stitches in her business name.  I have to admit, I hadn’t planned in it being all connected like this, and its not technically my doula business name.  I operate as Leah Halterman Birth and Postpartum Doula, it is easy to remember and when people hear it I don’t get confused with the 1,000 other doulas in the metroplex.

So how did I get here? It started when a friend of mine asked on Facebook if anyone knew how to serge.  I have a beautiful and very expensive serger that I inherited from my Grammy.  I don’t think she ever used it and I had only used it once or twice myself in 8 years.  My friend was looking for someone to make cloth napkins, and being confident I can do ANYTHING, I did some IMG_4601research and agreed to make some for a local co-op. When it was time to send them out I figured I needed to name this little project because I thought that would be more professional and maybe I would do this again.  After a bit of thought I came up with 31 Stitches.  31 was taken from proverbs 31. I debated on this number because I know that many many people have the wrong impression of this passage.  It is probably because many haven’t actually read it.  We hear it out of context and applied incorrectly.  First off, this proverb not written as instruction to women on how to be a perfect wife, it is actually written to a son on multiple topics, but one of those is finding a virtuous woman. (now could we take advice on how to be a great wife from this?? Of Course!)

[Pro 31:13-22, 24, 27 KJV] 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple. … 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. … 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

weaving woman

She does not sound like the woman society has made her out to be.  Quiet and hidden at home, unwilling to move until her husband says so, captive inside her home or a slave to his desires.  It is quiet the opposite.  His heart trusts in her so much that she is running multiple businesses and caring for her household. She is weaving, buying and selling land, planting vineyards, selling in the market, caring for the poor and needy, clothing and feeding her family very well…….and she is not IDLE.  WOW!! I am blown away by this woman already.  She is devoted to her husband and family and cares for them with a strength and courage that encourages me daily.  So when thinking about what I wanted this vision to become it seemed perfect.  I desire to be that woman for my Lord, my husband, my family and my friends.

You can probably figure out where the stitches came from….I sew stuff.  I have currently been working on belly wraps for my doula work and the cloth napkins, but I have a few other products in the works that will be coming out soon.

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This blog/business combo is also a ministry.  It is my desire to reach the hearts of women who are searching. Searching for anything: childbirth resources, gardening, recipes, encouragement, love, child raising, homeschooling, whatever.  Even though these all seem different and out of place, together they are ME.  All of these are parts of my whole person, and if I can contain all of this in the physical world surely I can combine them in the virtual world.  I am letting my life and thoughts be my inspiration. I am finding peace and purpose in thinking through my life and choices.  It gives great perspective and direction to what we are already doing or desire to do. With three kids running around this provides me time where I can actually organize the thoughts in my head and think through them.   Even if no one is reading, getting my thoughts and words organized and out of my brain has been wonderful for me.  (And hopefully at least one person has read and been encouraged by my life and words).

Juicing……aka overcoming my innercrazy

A look into the last week in our house:  I’m not sure where I got this great idea, but I mentioned to Corey Sunday at breakfast that maybe we should do some juicing this week as a bit of a reset on our bodies.  He was on board and we stopped at the grocery store after church to be prepared for the next couple days.  Kale, spinach, carrots, cabbage, lemons, limes, oranges, cucumbers, tomatoes….. we stocked up.

Day 1:
We woke up Monday morning ready to take on the world and have some juice.  Thanks to our move I couldn’t find the juicer, so I got out our Bosch mixer and pureed all kinds of things into an applsauce-y textured drink.  IMG_4482At this point, I was still excited about the super health benefits and self discipline that were going to be a result of this experience. That lasted about 3 hours.  Around 10:00 am I was headed out and noticed my tummy felt strange.  After about 12:00 pm I hit a wall, headache, my stomach was hurting and hungry and I had no energy.  OH, and I had decided this was the worst idea ever.  I was so hungry and feeling crappy and I wanted to eat real food.  I decided it would be IMG_4483 (1)okay to eat raw fruits and veggies.  That was helpful with the need to chew something and feeling a little full.  I said this was going to be a real blog about real people so here it is.  Day 1 juicing and feeling horrible.  

After Corey talked me off the ledge multiple times I made it to dinner.  We decided that because I thought I was dying eating a light dinner was a good idea.  We grilled every type of veggie we had and it was a feast!  Even the kids loved it.

Day 2:
I wasn’t as bright eyed and bushy tailed as day 1.  I went and sat in my glider and focused intently on how much I wanted a cup of coffee.  Corey smiles and heads to the fridge and begins dragging out juicing stuff.  I’m sure he can feel my glare.  I DO NOT want to continue this.  He whips up something while I am IMG_4484doing my bible reading and secretly praying that Jesus will miraculously get out of this!  Corey brings me something that looks similar to yesterdays “breakfast”.  He knows me, so he knew that I was not interested, but somewhere underneath that crazy person coming out I know that I want to do this and be healthy.  So I choke some of it down. I made it through almost a whole glass before giving up.  I also ate some left over grilled veggies, an apple, and some guac. It was a long day and I moan and complain for most of it.

Day 3:
I woke up today feeling much better than yesterday.  I didn’t want to eat any more veggies but I felt good.  I waited a while and ate an apple.  Corey had left to go to work before I woke up so I didn’t want to go to all the trouble of making juice for me.  Thankfully I received an invitation to go to my friend Amy’s house and that was much needed.  Staying home and staring at these walls and thinking about eating wasn’t doing me any good.  It was also nice that we are good friends so I could go over looking like whatever.  I brought with me lunch for myself and the kids pineapple, watermelon, bell pepper, hummus, carrots, ranch dip and our delicious leftovers from last nights Zucchini Noodle Pesto Pasta.  It was an amazing mixture of zucchini noodles and an avocado pesto. (The kids all cleaned their plates so this is going in the dinner rotation) I was doing pretty good and feeling pretty good most of the day. Towards evening I began to really feel a lot of muscle weakness, I wasn’t IMG_4489tired but my body felt like it was tired.  I managed to get dishes done and dinner cooked and I had to go lay down.  Then I ate the okra and tomatoes I made and an apple, and needed to lay down again.  I began to get a little concerned I wasn’t getting enough protein.  My body needs lots of protein to function even on a normal diet, I wake up ready to eat a full meal. I decided to have an egg after dinner and immediately was feeling better.

Day 4:
I woke up knowing I was going to need more protein again so I went ahead and had an egg with my breakfast.  I had so much more energy and didn’t get the the yucky extremely tired feelings I had the previous afternoons.  Corey and I decided we would start adding some meat and other things in tonight.  The kids were going to be gone and I didn’t have class so we splurged on a date night for sushi.  It had been quite a while since we have had sushi and it was SO DELICIOUS! I had a bowl of Miso soup as an appetizer and it was heavenly.  After no meat for a week it was so warm and filling to my stomach.  (not to mention the many benefits of miso) We then ate up all the Hamachi and spicy tuna we could stuff in. Sorry no pictures of our beautiful sushi 1. I had fantastic company with the man I love so I put my phone away and 2. I was so hungry for meat that I didn’t even think about it till my plate was empty!

Day 5:
I had the Texas Home School Coalition Convention Friday and Saturday so I tried to be good, but it wasn’t as easy.  And frankly, it was Mothers Day weekend so I easily justified all the food!

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Having fun at the Convention with my big girl and sister.
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Oh and we got to see the Duggars!! (Yep, we were a bit star struck!!)

So to wrap it all up:

Goals for our juicing which became a fruits and veggies fast : Jump start to better eating habits and a small cleaning out of the all bad stuff.

Did we meet them ?? Yes. We have now implemented eating more veggies daily as well as Meatless Mondays.  We had some raw all veggie Pad Thai last night.  Here is the link to the recipe, it was amazing and the kids loved it too, Ohsheglows.com. We have also kicked up the water intake and back on better meal planning habits.

Did I conquer my inner crazy?? I think I put her in her place a bit, but lets be real, I’m a red head, she isn’t going anywhere!!!!!

P.S. –  If you are thinking about making any type of veggie noodles try it out with your julienne peeler to be sure you like it, then consider purchasing a spiralizer.  I havent gotten one yet, but after trying to do this to carrots with the peeler, its in my cart right now!

My Journey into the world of birth.

My journey into being a doula and childbirth educator began with my own births.  These moments have helped define me in so many ways.  Having a baby changes everything. Having 3 babies here and 2 in Gods care has really impacted my life to the core.  I want to share each of my stories and how they led to me becoming so passionate about helping other families during this time.

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Our beautiful girl

The birth of Abby:
Corey and I got married ready to have kids. I was already staying home preparing for a precious little one to join us.  So we gave it our best effort and waited, and nothing happened for months. After 7 months we took our prayer request to our church and we began praying for it publicly.  That next month, we got a positive pregnancy test and we were overjoyed!!!

Once that happened we began looking at birth options.  We had met quite a few families from Alaska who had used midwifes, something that I had never heard of down here.  Being self employed we decided that since we didnt have insurance this was probably a great idea for us [ie. cheaper than the hospital]. I began looking into different midwives and even found a couple birth centers.  I stumbled across a lady that sounded “normal” so we set up an appointment.  Judith came to our home and she was everything we could have asked for! She was a midwife that did home births, a Christian and our appointments would be close to our home.  I had a great pregnancy with Abby, almost no morning sickness to speak of and I felt great up until I delivered.  I was about 5 days past my due date, it was Thursday June 14th and around 10:00 pm and I began having contractions about 10 minutes apart.  We had been at my moms house so we decided to head home.  She of course came with us and we called my mother and sister in law to come over too.  I called my midwife and let her know what was going on.  She called another midwife apprentice to come and labor sit with me because it would probably be a while since I was a first time mom. Contractions kept coming and were getting longer, stronger and closer together.  Sometime around 3 am I wanted to lay down.  I don’t remember whose idea it was but someone suggested putting a trash bag underneath me, just in case.  I hadnt been laying down long when we all heard this loud pop.  It sounded like someone used a rubber band to thump a balloon.  My mother in law said “what was that sound” at the exact same moment I began feeling liquid run down my legs, it was my water breaking.  From there things really began to pick up.  I just wanted to labor on my knees leaning onto the cushion of the couch.  I remember blowing with loose lips (and as a doula, I am so proud of my instincts during this birth).  I continued laboring and at some point got very nauseous and threw up.

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Had time to smile after throwing up and probably nearing transition. I am so thankful for a beautiful peaceful birth.

I remember Judith getting there and I was thankful because it felt like things were moving quickly and I didn’t want her to miss it! It became time to push, and pushing felt good, it felt purposeful.  I was laid on my side and was able to rest in between contractions.  I know it was intense but I didn’t feel a lot of pain, the most intense sensation I felt was the feeling that there was something in between my pelvis.  Once she was really close to coming out my midwife encouraged me to breath through a few contractions so she could try to move the baby’s hand back. It was tucked up by her face and it is not ideal for it to be there.  I felt like this was the most pain I had been in.  My body didn’t want to stop pushing, as a matter of fact I wasn’t pushing at ALL and it was still pushing!!! I tried so hard to take short breaths and quickly blow through them but it didn’t matter my body was ready to have a baby.  In the next contraction or two out she came hand and into Corey’s waiting arms.  We hadn’t found out what we were having so it was a added surprise to find out the gender. He held her and looked down and exclaimed “Its a girl, I think” we laughed and checked and it was.IMG_0070  She was beautiful and I had done it!!! I had some time with her skin to skin, soaking up those first moments.  They were cleaning me and everyone up and after a while I was still having some off and on bleeding.  By about 3pm my heart rate was really high and my blood pressure was really low.  My midwife decided it was time to call 911 and get me to the hospital.  After getting checked in and my iron levels checked I had lost about half my blood.  I declined a transfusion when the ER dr told me he would prefer not to give a brand new mom a transfusion unless it was really necessary.  My levels evened out and they watched me overnight to be sure my body was handling the blood loss.  Because they were monitoring my heart I went to the heart floor. When they brought Abby to me the nurses there were overjoyed because they didn’t get babies up there.  They went and got me all kinds of baby stuff, my midwife brought me some steak and I had my very first breastfeeding.  It was quite the roller coaster of events but we were healthy and together and I was feeling much better.  I was discharged the next day to go home and stay on bed rest for 2 weeks.

This was a time when my husband showed his truOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAe devotion to me and our new family.  He waited on me hand and foot.  I could not get out of a laying position for anything, not even potty breaks so imagine his sacrifice….hehe.  My mom also was able to take an entire week off.  She helped cook meals, went to the store and purchased all sorts of things that we thought we might need for breastfeeding and baby care.  She stayed the night and helped me with night feedings and I even caught her waking up and checking to be sure Abby was breathing just as she had done to me when I was a baby.  It was a long and tiring recovery time.  I was taking about a zillion different vitamins to help rebuild my iron, things like desiccated liver and lots and lots of chlorophyll. By the next month I was doing much better and after two months I was totally in the groove of things.  Nursing was going relatively well and life was our new normal.  This birth was my easiest labor by far, which is strange for it being the first one.  This birth also led me to do a little more research and praying before our next delivery.  I am so thankful for the beauty and love that Abby has brought to our lives almost 8 years ago.  She truly loves to take care of others, has the sweetest most tender heart and has a sense of humor all her own.  She leads her siblings with love and really tries to encourage them to behave and obey.  I call her my “old soul” because her insight into others and how she acts sometimes I forget she is only 8! I learned so much about myself and God has taught me SOOOOO much since I became a mother.

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I spent hours just staring at her like this.

Tiny House – In The Beginning

 

Texas Paint“I’ve been everywhere, man. I’ve been everywhere, man.Crossed the deserts bare, man. I’ve breathed the mountain air, man. Travel, I’ve had my share, man I’ve been everywhere.” -Johnny Cash

 

 

 

That is what our last few years have felt like.  For one reason or another we have moved and lived in 8 different places since our marriage in 2006.  We have now landed back at the home we purchased before we were married.  It is a cozy (and I use that term lightly) 1000 square foot 3 bedroom house.  Last I checked we were a family of 5 and that was not the ideal situation I had envisioned for us.  But, God is good so I trusted this was what he had for us and here we are.  I am happy to report that after 3 months here I am happy.  Its not everything I want it to be or everything we need it to be some days but it is ENOUGH.  Our basic needs are met and we are thriving as a family.  I have found freedom in getting rid of things we don’t use or need, I have found joy in being closer with my family (thus keeping an eye on my littlest tornado is easier) and the joy of spending way less time cleaning has been a huge blessing!

The less than up side about this cute little home is the condition it was in when we moved in.  After 10 years of renters with kids, dogs, cats and I don’t even want to know what else, the carpet, flooring, bathrooms etc were all in dire need of help.  So we made a list and decided what were priorities and what could be put off.  Before we moved we knew we wanted to tear up all the flooring.  I had the genius idea to do brown paper bag flooring so we ripped out all of the very worn and dirty carpet and the white bathroom tile that had been in the entire rest of the house.  This sounded so easy, break up and haul out all the tile then come back with the sander you could rent from our local big box home store and smooth it out.  As you can imagine it didn’t work quite that way.  We found lots of laminate flooring underneath the tile and getting it up was insane, then the sander that we were supposed tofloor scraping be able to use didn’t work at ALL! So I spent hours hand scraping the concrete with a long metal pole.  There could not have been a more medieval method for doing this (it probably originated as a torture method – “The Lady of the house wants new flooring, bring in the serfs and we will force them to scrape the floors”)

So as the cleanup ended we moved in, no time to put in paper bag flooring and Corey had become increasingly suspicious of that whole process.  We decided we would just stick with bare concrete for now (which we laughingly refer to as the “industrial look”) IMG_4424  We knew we needed a new bathtub, the one we had was rusted and I was not comfortable sitting my babies in what it might breed. That was planned, but what we didn’t expect was a terrible leak under the faucet that was leaking into the bathroom counter, and as we started tearing it out we found it was also leaking into the wall and the walls were full of mold.  We  didn’t need to breathe this stuff in so the WHOLE bathroom got demolished.  Toilet – out, flooring- already out, sink and counter – out, bathtub and shower – out, walls and insulation – out.  I am unsure if that was a blessing that we found that or not, but while removing all the walls and insulation we were shocked to find we had been sharing our home with a nest of COCKROACHES!! I really am a crunchy, granola, hippie natural mom but when I heard Corey from the other room exclaim he found a roaches nest in our bathroom wall it took about 5 minutes and I was at the store purchasing multiple forms of the most toxic stuff to kill those suckers. I cannot express how disgusting it felt to know they were living in our home. I am happy to report the toxic stuff worked great and we haven’t seen any in a while!IMG_4426

That bathroom was completely ripped out but no big deal we had another one. Sadly this one doesn’t have a bathtub only a shower, but still usable….UNTIL. We learned that the sink in our bathroom was leaking as well.  Sink and vanity – disconnected…..survivable I guess.  It had been a couple days living between there and my moms when we finally were ready to stay overnight.  I go to get in the shower.  I turned the hot water on to let it get going and get ready to get in.  I climb in and the water is boiling hot,  I think to myself “Yay! At least something here works great!” I then go to turn the cold water to make it bearable and the knob spins very loosely and falls off. [Insert 1st world meltdown here]  Angry, disappointed, nude, fed up with things breaking, I yell for my knight in shining armor and he brings me a pair of pliers that will serve as the cold knob for the moment.

There are so many things that this house needs and one at a time we are going to get them done.  It might make things a little uncomfortable for now, but in the long run we are going to have a cozy little home that we have made and can enjoy.  For now we are fixing to install insulation and get our new bathtub in.  We had purchased the flooring for the bathroom a couple months ago and had been saving for the tub.  The time has come to have another toilet too!  I am sure there will be many more updates on the things we do around here but for now here is a glimpse at one of my favorite parts of our new home, our garden.

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One of our tiny Asparagus plants.
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The Lily that Corey bought me to plant in the garden.
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The beginnings of our pea crop.

Why do we need another blog and what is this all about??

Ecclesiastes 1:9 – What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

     When I began working on and designing my doula website I began thinking about my services and what I want to offer to women in my community.  I talked to my husband who is my faithful listener, sounding board and often wrangles in my crazy (he married a red head so he was fully aware of this).  He began to encourage me to expand my view of what this could be.  Yes I offer birth and postpartum doula services and teach Lamaze but do I have a bigger message to share and an audience to share it with? At this place in my life it can feel like an uphill battle just to get my teeth brushed and my kids somewhat clean and there are other moms feeling the same way, or while feeling strong and encouraged about running my own business from my home that there are other women who need to know that it is possible and that she can do it and as these blogs continue there is no telling what will come out of my mind and onto the keyboard.

So you may be asking, what other things is Leah interested in and what can we expect to see. I will now run through a quick list of the first 25 things that come to my brain: childbirth, local eating, herbs, raising children, book reviews, marriage, GOD, faith, my tiny house/remodeling, cooking, eating, teaching, running a business, breastfeeding, housekeeping, essential oils, gardening, friendships, dealing with women, homeschooling, discipline – self and children, serving your community, vaccines, LOVE and expect a couple personal rants on miscellaneous topics.

This is of course not an exhaustive list but just the rumblings of my brain after almost a whole cup of coffee.  It does seem a bit scary stepping out into the public with my own thoughts and ideas.  We live in a time where everyone is criticized and people love to hide behind their screens.  I am not that person, as a matter of fact, if you have ever had an actual conversation with me I am sometimes uncomfortably transparent and open.   If you have stood next to me in the grocery store line for too long you will probably know about my dark past, poor choices, that time we were in a cult, my faith, my finances, just about anything.  I don’t want to use this as a place to hide and appear as the perfect Pintrest mom with matching kids clothes, perfect and delicious meals and as someone who doesn’t mess up.  Truth: We are in our jammies or some form of them most of the day, sometimes I forget to brush my teeth till after 12, if my kids dress themselves that is A-OK with me so they regularly are unmatched and dirty faced, every dessert I make isn’t a masterpiece and I fail regularly at being the person that I want to be.

SO here I am, my doors are open for all to see in and my heart will be poured out. In the spirit our “real-ness” here is a photo from a couple years ago taken by my friend Lindsay.real haltermans  All the photos were great but she gave me the blooper reel and it is hilarious. Here are a few for your enjoyment and can I get an Amen from anyone who has tried to take family pictures with toddlers.

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With Love and Trepidation,

Leah