Category Archives: Homemaking

GUEST POST: Hezekiah’s Birth Story

Written by: Martin & Danielle Miranda

First I’d like to start by sharing a little background information that will hopefully help you understand the full story. About halfway through my pregnancy, I made the decision to switch from an OB/hospital birth to a midwife/birthing center birth. I could go into detail as to why but that’s a story I’ll save for another day.

People often told me that each baby you have are likely to come earlier and earlier. Since I had my son, Eleazar, at 37.5 weeks I was preparing myself to possibly have baby before that while still keeping in mind that anything could happen. I was just praying I’d make it to 36.5 weeks otherwise I would have had to have a hospital birth. To my surprise, week 37, 38, and even 39 passed by and I was quickly approaching week 40.

During those last weeks I had braxton hicks contractions basically every day, but I figured that when it was real I would just know. On Sunday, September 19th, I called my Mom to wish her a happy birthday and I told her that I hope I have baby that day so he can share a birthday with her. I also wanted her to be FaceTimed in during the birth, so I told her to wait for the call. That same day I told my sister, Gabby, that I was more likely to give birth in a car than to call my midwife a million times because I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time with a false alarm.

Sunday evening had come and even though I had contractions basically all day, they still weren’t super intense or even close enough to be actual labor. Or so I thought…

I went to bed that night and usually when I’d lay down the contractions would stop. Well this time they didn’t. But they were still only 8-9 minutes apart and although they were getting more intense, I was still convinced that they weren’t close enough yet. Suddenly one by one they got closer together. 7, 6, 5 minutes…

I quickly told my husband to call my midwife (12:20a.m. 9/20), so he did and I expressed to her that it’s baby time. Keep in mind, my midwife lives about an hour away but she had another midwife that was going to meet us at the birthing center that could get there sooner just in case.

Martín asked his mom to come stay with our other kids and we grabbed a few things (my bags were already in the car) and we quickly started heading to the car. The contractions were so intense and painful that I could barely walk and by the time I got to the car I literally felt the baby coming out of me. Yes, I probably woke up the neighbors. Martín called my midwife and she could hear me screaming and she knew there wasn’t time so she told us to go back into the house. Both my midwife and the other midwife started heading to our house instead of the birthing center.

The next part is a bit of a blur since everything happened very fast and I kind of went into shock so I asked Martin to share his perspective to help explain in more detail.

Start of Martin’s section:

“Chris I cannot hear you so I’m going to hang up…” I tell the midwife as Danielle screams so loudly that I cannot hear a word Chris is saying. Once I hung up I picked Danielle up and started carrying her back into the house. At this point my mom had come out after hearing my poor wife scream from the intense pain, so I frantically asked her to open the door for us which I had to repeat twice as she was half asleep.

She finally gets the door open and I rush Danielle into the house. Danielle says “just drop me off on the floor — this baby is coming out of me!!” I decided the bathtub was a much better place to have a baby, so after I put Danielle down I got it started. As it filled up I helped Danielle slowly down when all of the sudden I noticed baby was crowning. At this point I call our midwife back and give her the news. She then proceeds to say “well, you’re going to deliver your own baby!”

After she said that, I felt as calm as ever and proceeded to take as much control of the situation as I possibly could. I step foot into the tub, curl up my shorts, and position myself to receive a baby. Only a few minutes had gone by when I see the head is almost out. I then tell Danielle to give me one more push and that it’s almost over. As she pushed all I could think of was “his head is almost out”. It is at this point my very chest felt heavy as I heard my wife scream loudly in pain. I continued to watch the head come out when I finally feel a baby’s cheek. At this point I expose as much of the baby’s head as possible in order to reduce pressure on Danielle which given her feedback it seemed to help.

After that part was over I told her that the hardest part was over and that it’s all downhill from here. I told her to wait for the next contraction and told her to push yet one more time when it comes. It is at this very moment when I begin to feel our son’s head move around and I proceed to ask our midwife “his head is out, how hard do I pull now?” She reminds me that he is fine and to pull hard. I was confused as to what “hard” meant so I only pulled a little less hard than my wet slippery hands allowed me to.

While still pushing through the same contraction, I begin to feel baby’s making progress so I pull and all of the sudden the rest of his body is out. I decide then to pull on the umbilical cord to give me some “slack” as I place him over Danielle for proper skin-to-skin time. I run downstairs as fast as I can to grab a space heater and turn off the AC all while we continue to wait for our midwives. Chris tells me to “rub the baby’s back” and as soon as we start doing that my mom storms into the bathroom in absolute shock. I have never seen my mom so speechless before. She continues to cry her eyes out as she says “o mi niño!” Which translates to “o my son” which is an expression in Spanish in reference to our baby boy.

15 minutes later Ashley, the first midwife shows up and gets Danielle ready to deliver the placenta and have me cut off the umbilical cord.

From the time I carried Danielle into the house to the time that we were holding our son, only about 12 minutes had passed. The curious thing to us is that we had been diligently tracking contractions and as recommended had waited to the point of contractions being under 5 minutes in frequency. Apparently our son couldn’t wait.

End of Martin’s section.

Afterward, Martín kept telling me how impressed and proud of me he was to which I responded “Me?! You just delivered our baby!!”

Martín also called my mom to tell her the news (she thought she was getting the “baby time” call) and to let her know there wasn’t even time to FaceTime her in. Unfortunately, baby boy doesn’t share a birthday with my mom but he does share a birthday with my best friend, Taylor, which is still so exciting! My mother-in-law was in our living room the whole time, unsure of what was happening until she heard baby boy’s first cry. She was shocked but we are so happy she was there with us. In case anyone is wondering about Eleazar and Alannah during this time – they were sound asleep downstairs the whole time!

To sum it all up, I was supposed to have a birthing center birth with midwives (which I’m confident would have been amazing) but by God’s grace I ended up having a safe home water birth with baby being delivered by my husband and even though in the moment I was scared, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Hezekiah Calvin Miranda

9/20/21

7lbs 7oz

20 1/2 inches long

Soli Deo Gloria

Mindless.

Today is the last day of the decade. It’s also the last day Friends is streaming on Netflix. (Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this…). A few nights ago I was up in the middle of the night, nursing my one year old. As I rocked him quietly in his dark room, I was thinking about how sad I was that one of my favorite “mindless viewing” shows was going to be gone (despite the fact I own most seasons on DVD; but hey… who uses those?! It’s 2020!) 😜 …and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why was I sad to have my default mindless viewing disappear?

Mindless.

The word stuck out.

Interestingly enough, the dates coincide with my seasonal social media break for the month of January. My break from… wait for it… MINDLESS scrolling.

***(with short cheat days for our anniversary and kids’ birthdays because I love to brag on my cute fam! Sorry had to add that 🤣)***

Mindless.

Such a convicting word.

Why on earth would I want to do anything mindless?! I tell myself it’s because my overwhelmed brain needs a break- but that’s an excuse; not truth.

May I challenge you, as I challenge myself? Enough of the mindlessness.

Sure, there is joy in the comedy of a good sitcom. Nothing wrong with that.

There is community and connection to people worlds apart on social media. These are all good things.

However, I’m going to set those things aside this month to reset. Less mindless. More MINDFUL.

Mindful of what I watch. Mindful of what I say. Mindful of my time. Mindful of my example. Mindful of others. Mindful of every single thing that I do.

Will you join me?

Colossians 3:2, ESV: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Stolen Saturdays

This past Sunday I ran a marathon. It was a super big deal and I’m so very proud of it. After the race, we went out to lunch to celebrate. We joked about how I had to run 26.2 miles to get five hours to myself. We laughed because it’s funny, but also because it’s incredibly true.

As a mother, you find yourself hard pressed for alone time. You don’t get sick days, and you certainly don’t get lazy Saturdays.

I’m grateful- oh so insanely grateful- for my three beautiful, adorable, sweet kids. But there are days that they suck every last ounce of patience and energy straight out of me. Today is one of those days, which is what prompted this post, I suppose. You see, I know I’m not the only mom that feels this way. Or dad. Or nanny. Or grandparent. Etc.

Just a friendly reminder that it is not only okay, but it is NECESSARY for you to steal some Saturday-like moments to yourself. Sometimes that looks like a cup of coffee and a good devo. Perhaps it’s a babysitter and a scurry to the salon.

On this rainy day, for me, it’s getting all the kids down for nap, scooping up a mug full of ice cream, turning on the tv, lighting a candle and getting cozy under a blanket for a stolen Saturday.

Feels just like I remember it.

Grocery Delivery For The Mom Life Win

I’m going to lay it all out there: I’m obsessed with getting my groceries delivered.

There. I said it.

Now I’m going to tell you why.

I have been a Shipt customer for about seven months now and it has been one of the best decisions I could have made for our family and for myself.

  1. I don’t have to drag all three kids to the grocery store with me, distracting me while I’m trying to remember everything I need and taking up cart space.
  2. I don’t have to wait until my husband comes home so I can go alone.
  3. I don’t have to have HIM stop on his way home from work. This is a big one.
  4. This is sort of a combination of points 2 and 3, but it gives us SO MUCH time back. That time is directly turned back into time we can spend as a family.
  5. I can stick to a budget better- because I can see my cart total and don’t have to keep track in my head as I shop, it’s easier to adjust as needed.
  6. Also relating to a budget- I have a few different store options I can choose from, and have, on occasion, shopped from two in one day. This allowed me to get the better deals and selection I wanted.
  7. It’s easier for me to keep track of what I need to pick up. If my husband says, “babe we’re out of toothpaste”, I can literally go to the app and add it to my cart right away for my next order so I don’t forget. Same goes for any food item I don’t buy weekly and might otherwise forget.
  8. For the items I do buy regularly, I can “favorite” them and it makes my shopping that much quicker so I don’t have to search for my preferred brands every time!
  9. I’m able to shop more frequently. With a Shipt membership, there’s no delivery fee as long as your order is at least $35 or more. That being said, I don’t necessarily need to do a “big” haul. I tend to do 2-3 smaller orders every week. That way I can easily replenish things like milk, fruit and unexpectedly needed household items and save space in my pantry and fridge. (*household items: today I was doing laundry and my tiny kids basket was overflowing. By the time I dried the laundry I had a brand new, bigger laundry basket. HELLO convenience!)
  10. Meal planning made easier. Let’s say you want to try some new recipes. Being able to type in the ingredients you need rather than search the store for something you may not typically buy makes it 10x easier.

So how does it work? With Shipt, you pay an annual membership fee of $99, or you can sign up for $49 with my discount code: mWSZv.

How does it differ from Instacart? Well. They’re pretty similar actually. I don’t have anything against Instacart and have used it a few times. The major points are these:

  • Instacart doesn’t require a membership… but does have a membership option of $149.
  • Shipt DOES require a membership of $99.
  • Both offer free delivery on orders $35 or more with their memberships.
  • They carry different store options, which will vary by zip code.

For my personal preferences and budget, Shipt was the better option.

So there you have it!! Grocery delivery is amazing, and quite frankly, a total game-changer for this stay at home mom. ❤️

CLICK HERE and enter discount code mWSZv at checkout for $50 off your annual membership!

*this is not an affiliate/sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own and completely sincere. If you use my code to sign up for Shipt at the discounted rate, I do receive a discount on a future order. This does not influence my opinions.

Xander’s Birth Story

Throughout my pregnancy, my midwife kept telling me the third baby was the curveball; I’m pretty sure she reminded me of this at every single appointment. With this information, on top of the note that it had been my easiest pregnancy (after two already relatively easy pregnancies- I’ve been so lucky!), I made the assumption that this baby was going to come early and fast. I had been crazy busy and active at home- certainly all my trips up and down the stairs would make the baby drop nice and low very early. The other two kids were 1-4 days overdue too, so curveball equals early, right?

Wrong.

I had mentally prepared for the possibility of going a little overdue. It has been my tendency, after all. But as each day passed, I lost a little more control over my hormones. They were strong, and I wasn’t prepared for it.

I went to a 41 week appointment to be sure that everything still looked good so I could hopefully wait as long as possible for baby to come on his/her own. We passed the non stress test (NST), I was a little over 2cm dilated, had a membrane sweep, and was approved to have the if needed induction date set to Saturday, December 1st. I had to follow up with an ultrasound the next day and a second NST on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Nov 27 at 4:00pm on the dot I had a notable contraction. I texted David this fact and didn’t think too much of it since I had SO MUCH prodromal labor and plenty of stray, painful contractions. I continued to get the contractions 15-20 minutes apart for the next few hours. At 6:45pm I had my ultrasound. Fluid levels were great and baby looked great; but baby was measuring FOUR weeks behind. The ultrasound tech wanted to call the midwife on call to confirm I was okay to leave. The midwife asked to talk to me and said she wanted to discuss the size issue with the OB and other midwife on call, but might have me come in sooner to be induced. I let her know that I had been having contractions and was hopefully going into labor on my own but would wait for her call.

I was allowed to leave the clinic at this point and stopped at Target on my way home (8pm or so) to pick up milk and other essentials. At this point I noticed the contractions pick up in intensity a notch, and I note that they’re now about 10-15 minutes apart. Just before checking out I have a contraction that makes me stop and lean on the cart. Just a small scene made 😉

When I got home, I bounced on my yoga ball and watched Friends. Ironically, I happened to be at the point where Rachel is 8 days overdue. This is extra entertaining for me.

Around 10:30 I decide to try and get some sleep between contractions. When I laid down the intensity went up again. On a scale from 1-10, the pain is at about 7.

Will, who usually sleeps GREAT, fusses and cries on the monitor beside me. (He had a cold). Not making it easy for me to rest between contractions. Finally, David gets up and gets him some Tylenol. He’s finally quiet but my labor continues to progress, so I’m not getting any sleep. At 11:50pm, my contractions move to my back and thighs- 3/3 labors that turned into back labor. Oh joy. I go downstairs and cope through contractions on the yoga ball.

By 1am I decide to give it the old prodromal/real labor test: I hop into the bathtub for a warm bath.

The contractions keep coming, though slower, and I decide this is the real deal. Pain level when I get out is at an 8.

1:45am I call the midwife on call. I get a nurse, who says the midwife will call me back. Luckily she calls back quickly, and in the middle of a contraction. She’s convinced I’m ready to come in and tells me they’ll be ready for me. I hang up and call my parents in law to come watch the kids, and go wake up David. I asked him if he wants to go meet our baby today. He says “ughhhhhh” Lol.

3am we leave for the hospital.

3:30am we get to skip triage since I’m supposed to be induced later today anyway, so if this happens to fizzle out they’ll just keep me checked in and get things going again. We got settled into our room and I’m checked out by the midwife- only 3-4cm dilated and cervix slightly posterior. I’m discouraged by this information since my pain level/contraction strength has been equal to what I was at 6-7cm with the other two.

•photo: all checked in but already looking sleepy•

I was group b strep positive, so I’m hooked up to antibiotics via IV. It wasn’t the best IV I’ve ever had and was pretty uncomfortable throughout the rest of my labor.

Started getting the shakes as intensity level reaches more of a solid 8. Found out I’m actually having contractions 3-6 min apart, just more mild in between the big ones. Because of these things, the nurse thinks things might progress quicker. She sets up the delivery tools just in case.

At 6am I’m checked again and am 4-5cm dilated. Progressing, but not super fast. At this point I realize this is not going to be a fast and furious labor by any definition. I’m also a little more scared at this point to do it without medication since it’s been painful for so long already. I firmly believe that my fear inhibited the pace of my labor and is what made labor so slow.

I ordered breakfast and labored on the birthing ball. I had eggs and English muffin- I’ve had good luck in the past by eating bland protein and carbs.

My friend Vanessa arrived (sort of a faux doula!), and after I finished my breakfast we walked halls for a bit. There was construction at the hospital so we got a kick out of me awkwardly trying to hide my face and moaning from the construction workers when I had to pause for a contraction. (And actually the construction was super distracting during the entire labor). Eventually we made our way back to the ball.

*another funny side note- we had the TV on in my hospital room and there was a Friends marathon on. It HAPPENED to be the same season/episodes I had been on the night before, with Rachel overdue/giving birth. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?! lol. —also, we watched Friends at the hospital during early labor when I had Ellavie. That time, it happened to be Phoebe in labor. So weird!

11:30am I’m checked again. 5-6cm. Feels slow but steady. Contractions are an 8-9 intensity, but not on top of each other so I’m getting solid recovery breaks.

From roughly 12-1pm I sat in the bath. This really took the edge off of back labor; it removed burning from hips and legs. I didn’t think I was going to like the bath, but I did not want to get out. Was eventually forced to because I had drank so much water to keep cool in the tub that my bladder couldn’t take it anymore. Toward the end of my bath, contractions were getting very strong feeling again and I knew a shift was happening.

I moved to the bed and got some Tylenol for a mild headache. I think it was fatigue and lack of caffeine related. I was a little hungry but dealing with indigestion, so I snacked on some toast. (Also snacked on cheddar peanut butter crackers, gummy bears, and Gatorade through out day to keep my energy up).

1:30-45ish I got up to pee and stayed on toilet through a few contractions. Nurse checked to see how I was doing and I said I didn’t feel like moving and was happy there. Midwife came in and had me sit facing backward on toilet. She grabbed a stool to sit by me. Two nurses sat on edge of tub. Vanessa and David joined us in the large bathroom too.

This was my favorite part of the day. We all hung out and joked between my contractions. We came up with Kohler toilet ads, joked about having a water birth in the river behind the hospital, and about the adrenaline rush of giving birth. I talk about how it’s such a privilege because you only get to experience this specific rush so many times. It’s not like skydiving or something where pretty much anyone can do it, and you can do it as many times as you want. It’s a limited experience. It was a lighthearted and fun time. I felt so grateful to have such a fun and supportive team behind me.

•photo: sitting on toilet. Happy between contractions!•

I was starting to get pretty sleepy… I had some peppermint oil on a cotton ball and smelling it gave me surprisingly large boosts of energy and calm.

At 2:30.. maybe 45? I comment that it feels like my butt is dilating lol. Moved to ball again and leaned on bed. I held David’s hands tightly through contractions. After a few I commented the fatigue was hitting me hard. I had been up all night, after all. I would close my eyes during contractions and was having a hard time opening them back up after because I was so sleepy. The midwife suggested I lay on my side and try to sleep a few minutes between contractions. My midwife and nurses step out while I rest.

I’m NOT having an easy time coping with contractions on my side.. I can hear the change in my tone when I moan through the pain, but am still able to doze for a few minutes in-between.

Right at 3:00, after maybe 4-5 contraction/sleep intervals, I suddenly feel a lot of pressure. It doesn’t feel like pushing pressure, though. More like building gas about to sneak out against my will.. I feel a “pop” and for a second wonder if I pooped, but then immediately felt tons of warm liquid gushing out of me. I yell “omg my water just broke!!” And we immediately page the nurses.

At this point I’m very emotional. Panicked, even. I knew I was in transition, I was tired, and I was terrified I wasn’t ready for what was next. I forget everything I’ve read, watched, and experienced in past births. I start shaking uncontrollably.

When the nurses come I say I feel like I need to pee really bad. They want midwife to check me before allowing me to get up.

The midwife arrives seconds later and she checks me on my side.. she says I’m complete and ready to push and asks for a practice push. I struggle in pain from the check and contractions and trying to hold my bladder. She asks if the check hurts, or if I’m having a contraction. I scream I don’t know and that it just hurts.

She says she thinks I could do it but trying is torturing me and they help me to the bathroom to pee. We come back to the bed at 3:12pm and they ask me how I’d like to push. (**thank goodness for Vanessa taking pictures with time stamps so I know exactly what time/how long everything was!)

I decide to start by getting on the bed on hands and knees with my arms and head leaning on the back of the bed and bear down. I’m screaming louder than I knew I could into a pillow. Ironically I overhear someone comment that I’m following prompts from the midwife and nurses to change my tone and focus my energy so well, and that when she screamed in HER labor, people could hear her across the hall. And I’m thinking “are you kidding?! People can probably hear me in WI!”

•photo: first pushing attempt•

After two or three pushes in this position, it’s clear it’s not super efficient for me, though I could it feel it bringing him down.

My midwife asks if I’d like to try on my back since my body already knows how to do it that way from my epidural births. It might be more instinctual for me. I say yes but that I’m terrified to move. The nurses reassure me they will help me.

I get on to my back and they roll a mirror over for me to watch my progress (I had one with Will and found it super helpful). Within a push or two we can see the top of the head (I wasn’t really watching yet because I’m closing my eyes through pushing so hard). My midwife instructs me to look at the mirror, to hold my breath, try not make noise and bear down. She says to pretend I’m skydiving and to ride the adrenaline.

I see hemorrhoids and for some reason (unlike in the past) it makes me scared that I’m just doing more damage and I hold back a bit for a push. All I can do is scream in pain.

I try again and see the head crowning. His head is almost out. The midwife holds my cervix open around the top of his head and we wait for the next contraction to start as I gather my energy.

•photo: David’s face as head is crowning. Personal favorite•

The contraction starts and I’m able to push his head out. One more smaller push immediately after and his body slides out easily. 3:29pm he is finally born after 23 hours of labor, and 17 minutes of pushing. David gets to announce “its a boy” as Alexander is placed on my chest. We’re both so surprised as most people started to lean toward girl in the past weeks.

•photo: sweet relief!•

I’m instantly relieved but still shaking quite a bit from all of the adrenaline.

The placenta came out easily with hardly a push and David cut the cord. He almost cuts on the wrong side of the clamp and the midwife says no not there! And he says “ what do I know I’m a realtor!” -everyone laughs.

Alexander and I had a few min of skin to skin but he wasn’t very pink so they took him over to the heat lamp to look him over while I was checked over. I find out I have zero tearing!!

Alexander is fine so they return him to me for skin to skin.

My midwife asked how I feel and I answer that I feel like the next one will be an epidural. Haha!

Within 24 hours though, my memory of the pain already starts to fade and I decide that next time I would go in open minded to either way.. I loved my epidurals, but feel confident I could do it again unmedicated, and more prepared mentally for transition and pushing.

I’m so incredibly proud of my body and humbled by God’s grace and plan through this birth. I feel so grateful that I was able to experience it for all of its raw beauty without enduring an induction, and that in the end, I have a handsome, easy going and joyful son; the most perfect addition to our family.

*one final note: I was able to deliver exactly one minute before shift change- so my nurses were able to be present for the birth after all those hours of labor. They were amazing so I was super happy about that 🙂