Thursday, November 6, 2014

Giveaway Time!

Nurturing Notion's Facebook page has now reached 500 likes!

As promised, I'm hosting a giveaway.  Win one of these lovely galaxy dyed linen doll ring slings with hand painted stars.  Your choice of red or blue rings.

To enter to win, check out the nifty Rafflecopter widget below which will start accepting entries after midnight tonight.

You must visit my Facebook page to enter the contest.  All the other options you choose to partake in will increase your odds of winning. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How I Dyed my Sunrise Inspired Walters Wrap

I caught the dye bug a while back and have been dabbling with different effects ever since.  I am now getting to a place where I can explain how I come up with this stuff.  Good thing, because a few people have asked about this one.

My latest dye creation was inspired by this picture.

A sunrise, I think?  Well I just happened to have the right colors for it.  So here goes my best attempt to re-cap how I went about creating my sunrise inspired dye job on my Walters Organic Mini Square Weave Wrap.  I'd like to ask in advance that you please excuse my crappy cell phone pictures! 

First, I dyed the whole thing bright yellow in my washing machine using Dharma's tub dyeing instructions this past Labor Day. 

Then from there I went right into grad dyeing it azure blue.  After I rinsed until the water ran clear, I washed the wrap in hot water and let it spin dry so that the fabric was still damp.    

I winged it with my system since I didn't want to spend a ton of money on it.  Maybe one day I will, but I need to make sure I'm good at it first.  :-)  I ended up deciding to use my dining room chairs, my daughter's shoes, and shower rod to hold the wrap up.  

I cleaned out our 13 gallon garbage container really good (read disinfect) and used that since I wanted the blue to come up most the wrap.  I used hangers and strong clothes pins to hang the wrap on.  I had a pan handy for when the dyeing was done.  

Now to the dyeing part.  I have done this before, so I drew from past mistakes which you will unfortunately most likely have to make too.  I knew that it would be a good idea to do a test run without water so that I could eyeball where I wanted the water to start and end.  Also so I could estimate how much solution I'd need to prepare so that I had enough supplies. 

I also refreshed my memory as far as measurements for creating my salt/dye mixture & filling solution.  There's a great Dyed Baby Carriers group on Facebook as well as a few blogs out there who have documented their dye experience.  Dharma Trading is also a great resource.  What it boils down to is there are many ways to do this.  You just have to figure out which method jives with the way you want it to turn out.  I chose to do a continuous flow so that minimal lines are formed.

I started with the salt water at the bottom of the container; 3 cups of salt (some blogs call for 4 but I went with what I had on hand) mixed well in 2 gallons of warm water.  For this grad it took 2 gallons of solution to fill to the point where I wanted the water to start; about an inch of the wraps bottom.  

For the filling solution, I used 3 cups of salt and 2/3 cups of soda ash mixed well in 2 gallons of hot water.  Soda ash is the magic that bonds the dye to the wrap if your dye doesn't already contain it, so don't skimp on this.  

After I had my water mixed in the container and had a pot of filling solution ready, I mixed my dye.  I used a bit of urea & a little bit of hot water to paste of the dye.  I added more water and stirred until smooth before adding to the bath.  I mixed it real good and then wiped the sides of the container to reduce the risk of my wrap picking up random markings.  

I used my son's asthma tubing for this one, but had a short hose on the way.  See how impatient I am? 

I taped it to the side of the container with duct tape. <--- winging it. 

I used more duct tape to attach a funnel to said tubing then added my wrap to the bath.  <--- winging it again.

From here I added the wrap and let it sit for a few minutes so it could soak up the dye.  I then started adding the solution with my trusty Flanigan's cup.  This was working great until my contraption developed a leak.  Nothing a wash cloth and some pressure couldn't fix.  Fun times!  Really though, this was a lot less work than my last grad which didn't even come as high as this one.  Lesson learned!  

After about an hour of mixing and adding (3) pots of the 2 gallon filling solution the job was done.  I only stopped in short spurts to prepare and make my solution when it was running low. I tried to break up the prep work so that not too much time passed in between fills.  I didn't want lines!

I let it sit for about 10 minutes before going to the next step.  This is where it got scary.  When I went to take the wrap out, one of my daughter's shoes fell in splashing the top yellow portion.  I freaked for a second, then put the pan under the dripping wrap and ran to the bathroom.  The splashes washed out, but I was left without my shower rod.  

My lovely husband brought it to me after he heard me pleading loudly over the running water.  Truth is I had been calling him for some time.  I put the wrap up in the shower and down it went getting blue dye on the yellow parts once again.  Even my husband, who had been complaining about my hobby earlier, sympathized with me.  He hoped that all my hard work had not gone to waste in that moment.

The wrap was too heavy for the rod since it had absorbed so much water.  My guess is because Walter is such a cushy wrap.  I'm sure linen or a blend would not retain nearly as much.  From here I simply stripped down and took a cold shower with the wrap until the water ran clear.  Visualize that one.  I was a hot (or cold wet) mess...haha! 

Fortunately this move paid off and all my hard work was not wasted.  I also think that leaving the wrap to sit at the end helped since the reaction between the soda ash, salt, and dye had happened already.  So when the top parts got splashed, the chemical reaction wasn't there to help it stick.  Thank goodness!  

From here, I washed in hot water with Dharmas Textile Detergent, dried on low, and admired my work.  Oooh look...there's my foot.  ;-)

Fast forward one week later and I was ready to do the deep orange section.  I needed that amount of time for my ego & muscles to recover from holding up a sopping wet the shower...all by myself.  *cue the world's tiniest violin*   

Plus my hose had been delivered so I was ready to try it out.  I set up my station once again, only this time I used the larger tub since I wouldn't be raising the water level as high.  I mixed both my solutions the same way, only I filled this tub with 4 gallons of salt water mixture since it was bigger (not sure about the size otherwise I'd share).

I dipped my wrap to get it wet, then I proceeded to mix the deep orange dye the same way as the prior time, wiping the sides off before putting the wrap in the dye bath.  

For this one I filled it slowly (2.5) times with the salt & soda ash mixture via the short hose, funnel, and Flanigan's cup.  Took me about 40 minutes to fill with no leaking this time...YAY!

Near the end, I used a measuring cup to carefully pour clear water down the lower part of the wrap.  I was trying to encourage the orange to creep up like sun rays.

I pulled it out when done and let it sit for a bit before rinsing until clear, washing on hot with textile detergent, and drying on low.  

As you can see, the orange didn't do what I wanted, but the end result is beautiful nonetheless. 

 Any questions? 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Birth Photography - I See the Light!

As you probably know by perusing through my blog, I'm a doula.  I love all things birth.  Birth photography being one of the things I enjoy looking at.  Up till recently I really didn't get what the fuss was. I mean, sure I like looking at the photos.  I just didn't get why more and more people are choosing to have their births photographed.  It seems to now be as common as having the support of a doula. 

I thought I might have a friend present to take pictures of baby # 3s birth.  That seemed to make the most sense. Then it happened...I got two offers from photographers who wanted to take the photos.  Both were new on the birth scene so it'd be experience in return for professional looking photos of my baby's birth.  It got me thinking.  Did I want another person I don't know well present?  Would they be a distraction?  Would I be okay with wearing a top?  --serious question since I didn't share my daughter's freshly born photos that showed a little boob. 

After talking to friends and thinking about it I finally decided I'd give it a go.  I became even more comfortable with the idea after supporting Sophia (of Three Plus Studio Photography) during her own water birth.  When I saw the photos her husband captured I knew she was the one for the job.  She not only was familar with the sensations of birth herself, but she could draw on her husband's experience with lighting, equipment, and angles which put me at ease even more.

When the big day came my labor took on a very different pattern.  Most of the evening we hung out like any other night since my labor was so mild and sporadic.  Then when things kicked into to full force my awareness to what was going on around me went out the window.  I didn't even realize Sophia was there taking pictures!  You can read the full story here.

Once my team had cleaned up and gone I noticed that my body felt over heated.  We discovered I had a fever which spiked from 101 to 104, and it continued to go up and down like that the entire day.  This totally wreaked havoc on my body and ability to nurture and bond with my baby in the first week.  I longed to see the photos Sophia took since my memory of it all was so hazy given the rocky recovery. 

When I got the photos back I wasn't let down.  Sophia captured some incredible, amazing moments.  Through these photos I saw the fun we had.  I got to see my strength during the times where I thought I was losing it.  I got to see the love that permeated each moment she captured.

Most importantly I got to relive the moments all over again which was nice considering all that happened after the fact. I never really got my babymoon and these photos helped me move on from that.

I now see what is so special about birth photography.  You get to see the raw moments instead of what gets imprinted by the mind as a result of our judgements and gained/lost expectations.  Which is nice considering how sneaky the mind can be with making us doubt and be hard on ourselves. 

Here's a slideshow I put together of all the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum photos that Three Plus Studio Photography took.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do.

Orgasmic Birth at a Birth Center

I met this couple at a Meet the Doula Night hosted by Dr. Vivian Keeler's Amazing Births and Beyond.  This couple stood out to me from the start since the partner came right out and asked as his first question if I planned on having anymore babies in the near future!  Little did I know that I would be conceiving shortly after our speed dating experience.  Which made it interesting when they decided to hire me and I shared the news with them.  Needless to say this couple holds a special place in my ♥heart♥.

This is the story of her orgasmic birth experience, written by her....

For a long time I was hesitant to share my birth story. Not because it was frightening and traumatic, but because it was beautiful and exactly what I wanted. I was scared to share my birth story because I didn’t want to make other moms feel bad. Then another mom encouraged me to share. She told me “how can new moms believe that their bodies know what to do, that a painless birth is possible if no one tells them so?” She was right. I didn’t believe it was possible either. I had heard about it, it happened to a friend of a friend of a friend. But I had also heard that they caught a 10 foot fish. I thought it was a lie at worst or an exaggeration at best.

But it happened to me.

It didn’t seem like it was going to happen that way though. I was so anemic that I was high risk and I absolutely did not want a hospital birth. I’ll keep this part short: I started having contractions and I begged my baby to give me more time. He listened and my contractions stopped. I ate organ meat for breakfast lunch and dinner, had 9 iron supplements a day, and my husband chanted “IIIIRRRROOOON MAN!” every time I walked by.
It worked.

When I started having contractions again, I had my blood work taken and I was no longer high risk. Barely, but that didn’t matter, my birth center birth was on!

I started having contractions on Friday but I went about my business. Made breakfast, went Wal-Mart, and texted everyone to cancel their plans that I was pretty sure I was going to have a baby this weekend. My husband, sensing my cabin fever, suggested we go to the beach and do some walking. It started to rain once we got there so we drove for about 2 hours instead.

We fell asleep the moment we got home. Then about 4am, I felt like I needed to poop! I thought to myself “Good! That way I won’t poop while pushing!” But nothing came out? I decided to stay on the toilet for a while and I ended up asleep on the toilet. I woke up two hours later and realized I had bloody show. I texted my doula that I may be in labor but there was no rush. That she should shower, eat and tend to her own kids. After all, she was 6 months pregnant and I didn’t want a hungry pregnant woman helping me labor! She agreed that she would be over once she got the kids situated. 

My husband woke up a while later needing to use the bathroom, he asked me what I was doing and I joked “Either having your baby or a brown baby!” we both laughed. I managed to get myself off the toilet to let him use the bathroom. I walked around on my tip toes… because it felt better that way! But then my husband opened the door and the creak startled me. I fell over and vomited. He rushed to help me, I asked not to be left alone again and he nodded. He asked me if he needed to call anyone and I told him that I had already told my doula. He unlocked the door to make sure he didn’t have to leave my side when she arrived.
At that point I had the smartest thought of the day “Of me, not greater than me”. For the rest of my labor, every time I felt overwhelmed, I would think that: Of me, not greater than me.

I didn’t feel overwhelmed often though, every time I had a contraction I would do what my body told me to do and that was to kiss my husband. Deeply. It truly helped me focus on how much I loved him instead of how much it felt like I needed to poop!

When my doula showed up she was amazed at how close my contractions were coming and that I was still able to talk through them. Considering the timing and the amount of bloody show she agreed that we could go to the birth center when I was ready. I said I would like to get there before it got bad, so she told my husband to get the car ready. He hesitated and I assured him it was okay to leave me. My doula offered me pressure on my back while I contracted but I said I wasn’t in pain and would much prefer to be shown affection. She nodded and started petting my hair; it was exactly what I needed. 

When my husband signaled that the car was ready we waddled down the stairs and made the 30 minute drive to the birth center. I turned the radio on loud and sand along to every song I knew. Since it was Saturday morning, no one was at the birth center yet but they were on their way. My doula called for an update and my midwife said that she would be there in about 40 minutes but she would see if she could send someone to let us in sooner. I assured everyone that I was fine, I wasn’t in a rush, that everything was still completely manageable.

It turned out that my birth assistant was around the corner and let us in 10 minutes after we had arrived. It was about 11am at this point. She asked to check me and I said she could as long as she did it between contractions. She was a little shocked once she did. I was 6-7 centimeters already. We all cheered. I asked to have a bath ran for me. She told me it wasn’t a good idea. My labor had just started and I should walk to help things along. I shook my head and insisted for a bath. She shrugged and got me into the tub.
Then I fell asleep.

I was woken up a while later by laughter “Is she really sleeping?!” I joked “I was! Until you woke me up with all the laughter!” Then I fell back asleep.

I would wake up every so often, go back to sleep, my husband was forced away from my side at one point to eat. But over all, it was a good nap!

Then at about 2:30, MAGIC!
It was finally going to happen!
I could feel it!
I was going to poop!

My husband and doula helped me onto the toilet but my birth assistant was incredulous.  She watched me for a few minutes then asked “Do you feel different?” I said no, I just really wanted to poop. She laughed and told my husband and doula to help me back into the tub. I wasn’t pooping, I was having a baby!
My midwife was called into the room and everyone sat on the rim of the tub. My husband was petting my hair, my doula was rubbing my hand and either my birth assistant or my midwife was stroking my leg.
Then someone suggested I get into a better position for pooping. I half way tried to get into the position they suggested then promptly said “Nope, don’t like it” and I went about doing things the way I wanted. Which was some seriously lazy pushing. My midwife tried to get me to put a little effort into it but I ignored her mostly. “He would be here by now!” but I wasn’t rushed. 

When he started to crown it felt pretty uncomfortable, like when you stretch a little too far. My midwife suggested that my husband and I reach down and touch his head, we both declined. I didn’t realize it then, but I think I didn’t because if I realized what was happening, I would have panicked. Once the head was out I rested through 2 contractions, didn’t push at all, and then I did. He came out in one final push.
It was orgasmic.

Yes. Orgasmic. I yelled out “Oh god that feels amazing!” and my midwife scooped him up and placed him on my chest. It was 3:05pm May 4th.

Then terror hit. I didn’t love him. Where was the rush they told me about? Was I a bad mom already?
I got out of the tub and carried him to the bed. He started rooting and I helped him latch on. There it was. I loved him all of a sudden. I was so in love that I didn’t realize I still hadn’t delivered the placenta. That is until I felt a horrible sensation you know where. My midwife was trying to encourage the placenta to come out by tugging on the cord! I very politely said “You pull on that cord one more time and I WILL kick you in the face.” She stared back blankly and dropped the cord. I went back to cooing at the baby.

The placenta drama went on for another 2 hours. I got a tiny dose of Pitocin, nothing. Called the acupuncturist and nothing. More tugging on the cord, more threats of kicks to the face. I asked to be let up but since I was anemic before and as with all births there was blood loss, they declined. So I lied: I needed to use the bathroom. 

My midwife, sensing my BS, called for a bedpan. “Nope, I need to poop!” She grumbled and helped me onto the toilet. Then all of a sudden I did need to poop! I pushed and felt as if my bottom was going to explode! Out came the placenta and there was that awesome orgasmic feeling again! Birth was awesome!
The stiches I needed were not. Those hurt. Bad. I hate every second of every stitch. And I called my midwife every horrible name I could think of. Promptly following by “I don’t mean that!”
Once we were done, they offered me a raw placenta smoothie to help with dealing with the blood loss and all the birth hormones. I took it. Tasted like chocolate milk, nothing weird.

And that is how we welcomed our son over earth-side!
On a side note, I didn’t actually poop that day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Home Water Birth

Below is the story of how my daughter was born the Sunday before last...

Dana Faye’s Birth Story

On Saturday July 13th, at 40 weeks 2 days, I started having irregular surges.  This was nothing new since I had been having them in increasing intensity for three weeks.  I also had been making frequent trips to the bathroom and had been experiencing lots of pressure, probably because this baby decided to engage into my pelvis from 36 or so weeks onward. 

I half dismissed the surges, but part of me thought this could be it being that they were not letting up.  At around 6 pm I started timing them.  They were about 3-4 minutes apart with some mild ones in between at the 2 minute mark.  They felt the most productive when I was walking or standing upright, so I kept doing that to see if the pattern was regular.  I took a shower, and then lay on my side which did slow them down a bit, but they kept coming.  So I figured this might be the start of early labor.      

I was hesitant to start calling everyone, but did want to give the midwife a heads up since I really didn’t want her to miss it.  I went fast with my daughter, and I just wasn’t sure how this one would go.  I texted her, and she agreed that 3-4 minutes was close together, even though labor was still relatively mild.  She said she’d rather come check on me since she was gearing up to drive to her home in Miami Beach which is farther from my home.

When she arrived a little after 8 pm, I asked to be checked and sure enough I was a stretchy 5 and 50% effaced.  So there was still some work to be done.  I labored for a bit before she called the assistant to come.  Then at around 10 we called the photographer and my doula to come.  It was rainy out, so I wanted to give everyone enough time to get here safely. 

Once everyone arrived they hung out in the living room, while I was in the room.  Surprisingly labor was still mild, and even started to slow down.  This was very different from my daughter’s labor, and left me wondering.   

At some point I had my doula come in to do some acupressure as we listened to Matisyahu.  This lightened the mood, and helped me to come to terms with the reality that my labor this time was going to be different.

At around midnight I approached the midwife telling her that the labor seemed to have puttered out and that maybe they should all go home.  She said that would be fine, but that she needed to assess the situation prior to leaving.  I understood, and thought there was no way I had progressed any further since I was so with it and things had been so mild.  She did her exam and I was 7 ½ with a bulging bag.  I was in disbelief.  She said that she could not leave given the fact that I was progressing the way I was.  I agreed, and decided to take it easy.  Danny and I spent some time together in the room alone listening to music while I labored for another couple hours.  I walked and tried a variety of positions to encourage more productive contractions to possibly break my water naturally, but I guess the waves were too mild at that point to make it happen. 

Then the surges seemed to completely stop.  I was still a bit unsure about this being labor, but I took comfort in the fact that my body was making great progress given the midwife’s assessment.  I figured my body was just taking a break.  Then the midwife came in and suggested we go to sleep, which we did.  When I woke up I went up to the midwife and told her I was ready to do something.  We discussed my options, and I told her I’d prefer to rupture my bag over using herbs since I knew what to expect intensity wise.  Plus, I was a bit nauseous and didn’t want to try anything that might make me more sick. 

As she was going in to prepare for breaking my waters, she found that I was almost completely effaced, but at the same dilation.  So my body was still making progress even given the fact that the surges stopped.  After it was done, I stood up and immediately started having very productive surges.  I was excited.  I went for a walk with my husband and doula at that point.  It was an interesting walk.  We ran into some diving bats which we had never seen in the near 8 years of living here and also was greeted by my neighbor at 6am in the morning.  I thought the exchange was a bit odd considering it was a Sunday, but I digress. 

I had about 5-7 very productive surges as we circled the block.  I was enjoying it, as I knew this meant I’d be meeting our baby very soon.  I even recall telling my team that the intensity made me very happy, to which they laughed and said I was funny.   

Things started to pick up at that point so I labored in my room by myself so I could focus.  Danny stayed with me the whole time and was great about comforting me through the surges by supporting me in a standing position.    

There came a point where nothing was helping, so I literally jumped in the pool that had been waiting for me all night. The water felt nice, but my body kept telling me that I needed to keep adjusting my position.  I hung over the edge for a bit facing the pool wall, I tried a sitting position, and then immersed myself in the water flipping from side to side.  Then I even started hovering over the side with my bottom above the water.  I knew I would not be able to stay in that position for the birth, but it was the only thing that was cutting it at that point, along with the deep moaning.  Danny continued to be a great source of comfort, applying damp wash cloths to my face & back, massaging me, and stroking my face/hair.  

All of a sudden my body started pushing a bit on its own.  I heard my team rush to the hall where they stood waiting.  I felt for a head, and didn’t feel anything.  This made me wonder how much longer I’d need to endure this part of labor.  Given how the rest of labor had gone, I started to feel like it may go on like this for a while.  I remember my husband trying to encourage me telling me the baby would be here soon and that I’d done this before.  I told him that this pressure & intensity was very different, and that the baby was not coming since I obviously couldn’t reach her…ha, ha!  Ah, I was definitely in transition!

My team was still in the hall, given that was what I had requested beforehand.  Once the midwife heard the desperation in my voice she came in to offer some encouragement.  I asked her to check for a head, and sure enough she said baby was right there.  There was a lip, and she wanted me to just get through one or two more to see if that would move it.  Sure enough it moved with the next one and the full on pushing urges took over my body. 

She told me that I needed to either get completely down in the water or pick a different position so the baby would not aspirate water from the pool when born.  I knew she was right, and given the baby was on the way down I decided to try flipping over, and pushing on the walls for support.  That was ticket, because with the next push I felt (and could envision) the head moving down.  Then with the next push I gave it my all and her head was out. 

The midwife looked and saw that the baby had her hand against her face, and she gently supported her elbow as I pushed her body out with the next surge.  I looked down at our baby in the water and scooped her up.  At first my husband and I thought we saw a penis, but then realized we weren’t looking low enough.  Ha!  So we moved the cord and sure enough we could see the baby was a girl.  What a moment!  

When the midwife told me about her hand it all made sense in my mind.  It was nice knowing that the irregularity of her labor and intense ending had a reason behind it.  I also understood why the midwife knew better than to leave me with a bulging bag of waters.  Our baby girl literally came 2 hours after my water was ruptured.

She was born on July 14th at 7:34am @ 8lbs 12 oz & 20 ¼ inches long.  Her head circumference was 14 ¾ inches!  Even given her size and position of her hand I had no tearing.  She nursed for over an hour on my chest before we cut the cord and did the newborn assessment.  She pooped three times and peed once, so she may have even weighed a bit more!  

 All in all, it was an incredible experience.  I feel like I accomplished my goals of tuning in and birthing in a way that honored both me and baby.  The labor was a complete wild card and totally not what I was expecting.  That said, the entire process taught me so much and will continue to do so, I'm sure.  There really is no normal when it comes to what having a baby looks like, and there is no perfect or right way to birth a baby.    

Not once did my midwife impose her definition of what labor/birth should look like on me, and she knew the exact moments when I needed her to step in.  Her presence was such a blessing as is true for the rest of my birth support team!  I’m so thankful to have been able to bring our little Cancer baby into the world both gently and safely.

*All images were captured by Three Plus Studio Photography.  Here is a post they put up with more photos - Home Water Birth - Fort Lauderdale Birth Photographer