Dear Moms: Please Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Assisting Others


You do it all. You are up at sunrise, cuddling, preparing, feeding, wiping, driving, explaining, teaching, encouraging, fixing, day in and day out. And you love your job and wouldn’t want things any other way because you know it’s worth it. But you are depleted, exhausted and have no time to fill your own needs or wants.

Time with friends, quality time with your partner, remembering what real clothes feel like, gym time, quiet time (hahah never!), time to finish all those things you started 10 years ago.

Without you, their world would be a mess. You are the glue. The peanut butter to their jelly, the Nutella to their…well, anything.

So when I say that you need to put you first, here’s why:

  1. Be Happy! A happier mom automatically equals a happier home (kids and partner included). Research has shown that a happy mom is the one thing that kids want. And my own son often asks me when my face looks tired and drawn, “Mom, are you happy? Be happy!” Think about your own memories as a child, I bet you don’t recall a lot of outings or lessons or events. You probably remember small moments when your mom was happy and playing with you wholeheartedly. How did your mother’s happiness manifest in your relationship with her and outside of her? It matters. When you are happy, things are more lighthearted and the environment feels brighter.
  2. Satisfy Yourself. Feelings of satisfaction fill us up. Sometimes this motherhood gig can feel downright unsatisfying. We are unable to measure any real results of all the hard work we are putting in day after day. Seeing this project through to completion will take approximately 35 years. Doing something separate from motherhood that we enjoy can satisfy us. Knitting a blanket, journaling, a yoga practice. Whatever you like to do, do it!
  3. Patience. When you feel satisfied and happy, you will actually BE a better mother! And who doesn’t want that?! I was never a patient person before having Xavier, but now, people often commend me on my level of patience and I owe it all to yoga and having me time, which allows me to step outside of myself and see things clearly.

I know what you’re thinking, “Where am I going to find the time for more stuff?” And I’m not telling you this to put more items on your To Do list, or to cause guilt – b/c lord knows moms don’t need any more of that shit.

I’m telling you this because I think it really matters to the level of happiness we feel in our lives. And it directly transfers to our relationships with our partner, our friends and families and our children. Someone once told me that I was the one who set the tone of the entire household. If I was grumpy, everyone was and vice versa. And while this doesn’t always feel fair, it’s the truth. So get your shit together woman!

The bottom line is that when my personal needs are being met, I am a better human, period.

Where do you begin? With small, achievable actions. Some ideas might be to:

  • Start your day with a quick inspirational reading from Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie or any other book of your choice. It can help you focus and set mindful intentions to live your day more presently.
  • Outsource where you can! Hire a babysitter/enlist family members to watch the kiddos for a bit or splurge on a housecleaning service once a month and free up some of your time. You might feel guilty at first, but once you see how good it feels, the guilt melts away – I promise.
  • Get rid of some of your family’s belongings. Up front this is more work, but think about this: the less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to clean/organize/deal with.
  • Work smarter, not more. Keep away from distractions! When you are working, stay off of Facebook and keep your work focused. When you’re done, you’re done – turn it off and move on to your next thing. Be all there, wherever you are.

You know when you’re about to take off on a flight? They make an annoucement saying very clearly to, “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others”. Our first inclination would always be to give the oxygen to our children sitting beside us – but if you don’t first help yourself, you won’t be around to help anyone else.

So fill yourselves up Mamas, your families will thank you.

There’s a Book For That!


Books and storytelling are fun ways we can bring ideas to life for our kids. Challenging discussions relayed as stories instead of lectures have more of the impact we are looking for and leave room for the many questions sure to follow.

Our Favorite Books:

Potty Learning: Everyone Poops, Once Upon a Potty

Going to School: The Kissing Hand

Body Awareness & Self Confidence: Your Body Belongs to You

Bedtime: Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, Into Your Dreams

Death/Life-cycles/Seasons (For explanations involving the Earth instead of Heaven/God): A Grand Old Tree, Tap the Magic Tree

Yoga/Meditation/Mindfulness: What Does it Mean to Be Present, Sitting Still Like a Frog, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Love: I Love You Through and ThroughWherever You Are My Love will Find You, Guess How Much I love You

Working Together/Respecting Others: Little Blue Truck Leads the Way

Friendship: Otis

Being Different: Not Your Typical Dragon, Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun

Big Emotions: Today I Feel Silly, My Mouth is a Volcano, The Way I Feel

What are your favorites?


“You Get What You Get & You Don’t Get Upset”


My #1 goal of this parenting gig is to raise free-thinking, happy, healthy, children that grow into adults who leave our planet better than they found it.

The other day I was listening to a group of parents talking about their children’s school mantra and how much they adored it. The mantra is this:

“You get what you get and you don’t get upset”.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this phrase come out of adults’ mouths to their little ones. And yet I continue to feel a sense of overwhelming shock that people think this is a good message to send to their kids.

“You get what you get and you don’t get upset”

Let me begin by saying that I understand completely how it might be helpful to have obedient children who do whatever they’re told, no questions asked. Especially when you’re busy and you’ve got stuff to do, a kid following along with your plan makes for a seamless day – or so I hear.

But when I hear these words, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset,” the subtext reads something more like this:

“Your feelings don’t matter, only mine do”

“Don’t question people, especially people bigger and older than you”

“Just go along with what you’re told”

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t like something – you have to do it anyway”

Nothing about any of those words feel okay to me as a parent and if I heard an adult say this to my kid, I would NOT let it go.

Since when did having obedient kids equate to having good kids?

Let’s fast forward through toddlerhood and into middle or high school. A compliant toddler has successfully learned that doing what they’re told to do without making a fuss = good. So wouldn’t this transfer directly to peer pressure? What happens when your kid starts taking demands from other, older kids that you don’t approve of? I see a big problem here.

Alison Roy, child and adolescent psychotherapist puts it into perspective, “ A child will push the boundaries if they have a more secure attachment. Children who have been responded to, led to believe in a healthy way, that their voice is valued, that all they have to do is object and action will be taken – they will push boundaries. And this is really healthy behavior. Compliance? They’ve learned there’s no point arguing because their voice isn’t valued”.

Think about the character traits of any successful adult you know. Do you think they sat in the back of the room silently and didn’t question anything? Think about how ANY change occurs? Let’s take women’s rights to vote for instance. Do you think Susan B Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton were going along with the program? Not so much, because if they had, we might still not be allowed to vote.

The gravity of this mantra is heavy you guys! This is not the message we want to teach our children, the future leaders, game changers and doers of great things. I think we can all agree that we want our children to be happy and do great things. Have you ever thought, “Man, I just want my kid to grow up and be an obedient adult that lives a status quo life”.

I think I understand where the teachers are coming from with this – and if I’m wrong, or totally missed the boat here, please enlighten me. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that what they are trying to teach those kids is to go with the flow, and be easy. Because those are important life lessons to learn.

But I feel strongly that there are better ways to foster the notion of going with the flow. And it begins with RESPECT, not BULLYING. A respectful relationship between adult and child is not dismissing their thoughts, feelings and ideas by shutting their questions up with, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”.

Maybe, if kids were allowed to take more of an active role in their education (asking questions, challenging ideas, doing what kids naturally do) … maybe there wouldn’t be such a prevalence of bored kids fidgeting and disrupting classmates, getting into “trouble”. Maybe if they were treated with respect and felt as if their ideas were important (because the are!) – maybe they would love waking up and going to school!

I’m not advocating breaking all the rules and starting a riot, I’m saying let’s cultivate environments where our kids can be curious and respected where the opportunities for growth and learning are endless.

We all need validation – especially our little people.


{Resources for Respectful Parenting}

Janet Lansbury – Elevating Child Care

Aha Parenting

Positive Parenting Solutions

Adventure Monday: Awbury Arboretum

Adventure Monday2

Temperatures are steadily rising here in Philadelphia and the snow is slowly melting away. This past Monday we took our adventures outside to the Awbury Arboretum in Germantown.


I first learned about Awbury when looking into homeschooling options for our family. The Talking Stick has a wonderful homeschool program and this arboretum acts as their home base.

We stopped in the Francis Cope House, grabbed a map of the grounds and hit the trails.

Constructed in 1852 by Philadelphia ship owner Henry Cope, this home is primarily made of Wissahickon schist from a quarry on the side of Washington Lane opposite the house. It’s Quaker values are reflected in its simple elegance – and it is the perfect place to host a dinner party. 

I need this nook in my house

I need this nook in my house

Our first stop was the pond for some splashing action. We had to grab some sticks and help break the ice to gently assist Spring’s arrival. We searched for tadpoles and other signs of life – and were happy to see some bugs out.


The trees are labeled so you know what you’re looking at which brought us to a fun game of Find the Sweet Gum Trees!

We jumped fallen trees, scaled high hills and explored the 55 acres of tranquil land thoroughly. I look forward to heading back in the spring to check out the Wildflowers and continue our search for frogs :)



Wellness Wednesday: Detox Baths for Beginners ~ A Guest Post!










Meet Megan, a crunchy, homeschooling mama of two living in the Philadelphia area. I asked her to guest post for Our Spirited Life after reading and following her detox bath ideas on Instagram. She’s witty, charming and filled with helpful tips. You can follow her daily first world struggles on Instagram (@megtayann) which include giving up coffee, picking up toys ten times a day and staying up way too late doing internet research.

 Detox Baths for Beginners


Everyone is talking about detoxing these days, and for good reason. We’re bombarded with toxins on a daily basis that have no place in a healthy body: heavy metals, pesticides, fluoride and bacteria (the bad kind). Aluminum, a heavy metal, is linked to Alzheimer’s disease while pesticides and herbicides, like Monsanto’s Roundup, are linked to cancer . With this extra burden on our detoxifying organs, it’s not surprising that the rates of chronic disease have skyrocketed over the past twenty years.

Thankfully, there are a number of natural substances that can safely remove these toxins from our bodies. Detox baths are gentle, relaxing and especially great for kids because there is nothing yucky to eat or drink!

Here’s what you’ll need (full tub)

1 cup Bentonite clay (I like Redmonds brand)

1/2 cup Epsom salts

1/4 cup Baking soda

For a kiddie-sized bath, just halve the above amounts. I buy my ingredients from Amazon because dragging small children around to multiple stores is exhausting.
















Bentonite clay is the star of the show, but the other two play important roles as well. Epsom salts contain magnesium, a mineral most people are lacking, that promotes sleep, regularity (okay, poop; it helps you poop!) and also soothes sore muscles. Baking soda will neutralize any chlorine in your water, so this is an important addition if you have a city water source. Bonus: it also calms skin irritations.

Back to the clay, or dirt if you want to shock your non-crunchy friends. Bentonite clay is a naturally forming clay extracted from volcanic ash that uses its negative ionic charge to bind to positively charged toxins and heavy metals and draw them out of the body.

Here’s how you do it

Start filling your tub with water the temperature of your liking. I keep it comfortably warm for my little ones, but for my own baths I prefer it on the hotter side since it’s recommended to stay in for at least 30 minutes. Add your clay, epsom salts and baking soda under the running water and swirl with your hand to help them dissolve. The clay may stay a bit clumpy, but while you’re soaking you can take bits of softened clay and apply them to your face for a little impromptu mask. This is also a perfect opportunity to upload a selfie to remind everyone how crunchy you are. Oh my god, what is Meg doing? She’s really gone off the deep end.

Note: Do not use any metal utensils to measure or stir the bentonite clay. This can disrupt its natural ionic charge. Use plastic, wood, or just your hand.

After your detox bath, drink a full glass of water and prepare to sleep like a rock. Seriously, after my kids’ first detox bath, they both slept for an unprecedented 12 hours! As wonderful as that side effect may be, it’s only recommended to take detox baths once a week for the first month, and then monthly after that.

Once you get the hang of it, you can branch out and add some more exotic things to your detox baths:

Apple Cider Vinegar (1 cup) – decreases inflammation, causes your body to sweat which releases more toxins
Essential Oils (5-10 drops) – use your favorite oils or try lavender for relaxation, peppermint for nasal congestion or citrus oils, like orange, for an energy boost; avoid “hot” oils like oregano, cinnamon and clove as they can irritate the skin if not diluted with a carrier oil
Ground Ginger Root (2 Tbsp) – increases energy, wards off colds, opens the pores and causes your body to sweat which releases more toxins
Sea Salt (1/2 cup) – increases energy, replenishes body with important minerals
Hydrogen Peroxide (3 pints) – contains antiviral and antibacterial properties
Seaweed (1 package) – increases blood flow and lymph system drainage

Sometimes I turn it into a spa-like experience with tea lights and an ambient Spotify playlist, like “Oceanside Campfire.” Note to self: have husband feed me chocolate-covered strawberries next time.

You deserve 30 minutes to do something good for your body. Happy detoxing!

Disclaimer: If you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking any medications, please check with your healthcare provider prior to starting a detox bath regimen.


An Open Letter to Every Parent

Dear Parents,

Let me begin by saying I’m sorry, again. Truly, deeply, genuinely, sorry. In fact, I’m going to make myself a t-shirt that says I’m sorry and just wear it every time I leave the house.

You see, lately my son has been exhibiting some aggressive behavior when he is overly excited. He has a hard time with self regulation and has been pushing kids when they are in his way. In bouncy houses, on trampolines, jungle gyms and yesterday at the end of a family yoga class. He is a strong boy and has knocked over a few smaller kids in the last few weeks – and it was awful.

From what I am reading in all of my research (every day and every night since these behaviors began) pushing is “typical and age appropriate” when 4 year olds are learning to manage their new, strong, uncomfortable emotions.

I am sharing my research with you for 2 reasons:

  1. To ASSURE you that I AM HANDLING IT! (Yes, I am yelling that at you because the way you treat me when my kid pushes yours indicates that you think I’m doing nothing about the issue).
  2. And to remind you about something that you’ve obviously forgotten. That kids are kids and they are still learning, and sometimes, your kid acts like an asshole too.

I have left approximately 10 places crying within the last 2 weeks. Why was I crying, you ask? I was crying a little bit out of frustration but mostly because of how the other parents treated me after my son pushed their kid.

I get it, you’re pissed and I would be upset too if some little booger hurt my child.

BUT I SAID I WAS SORRY! And then I removed X from the situation and we talked about it – I handled it. The way that you treated me, the words that you said to me, how you tried to shame me in front of everyone else was NOT okay. And it was very very poor modeling for our children to observe.

Yes, it’s easy to be rude to me because it’s MY child that hurt YOUR child and it’s difficult to separate your emotions from any logic in the heat of the moment.

But what would happen if you responded with love, kindness and some effing understanding instead of telling ALL of the other parents in the room, pointing to us and making sure everyone hears and sees who did that horrible thing to your child!?

Because remember that time your kid was a jerk to someone else? Do you remember how frustrated you already felt that your kid acted this way, again? How defeated and hurt and sad you felt BEFORE that other parent pointed and tried to make you feel even worse?

I can tell you that it hurts, a lot. That it feels like someone kicking you in the stomach while you’re already laying on the ground, flailing around, clearly in need of some help, or a valium.

I’m mad. I’m hurt, I’m annoyed and maybe I shouldn’t publish things when I’m angry but I can’t possibly be the only Mama to every feel isolated by their child’s poor behavior. And I want to live in a society where when this kind of situation happens with our children, us parents fucking UNITE and show our children how to react with love and model positive conflict resolution.


A Mother Who Needs a Break

[Disclaimer: I want to make it very clear that I in no way condone physical aggressiveness nor am I making excuses for my child’s poor behaviors when I’m explaining my findings]

be kind

Beating the Winter Blues: 10 Indoor Adventures

With a another 2 months of winter ahead, I’m running out of ways to expend Xavier’s energy. So I came up with 10 less traveled destinations for you to keep or find your sanity.

1. Philadelphia Rock Gym: With 3 locations (Oaks, East Falls, West Chester) kids as young as 2 can climb their way to the top, feel accomplished and use all their muscle groups.

2. Rainbow Show Room: Come play on an array of swing sets and slides all while staying warm and listening to music.

3. Superior Show Room: Much like Rainbow, but add trampolines! 2 locations (Norristown and Doylestown).

4. Philly InMovement: An indoor gymnastics space with open gym sessions and classes for all age groups.

5. CocoKey Indoor Water Park: Over the bridge in New Jersey there’s a place you can splash around and pretend it’s warm out :) Day passes and overnight stays available. UPDATE: I have heard from a number of people that this place has gone down hill recently. The water and air are cold and the facilities were dirty. 

6. GiggleBerry Fair : A medley of imaginative play, waterways, rides and an obstacle course in Peddler’s Village.

7. Get Air Trampoline Park: This place has something for everyone and I personally love it (its a fun work out). The floors and walls are lined with trampolines, there’s a slack line, a foam pit and a ninja course for your inner warrior.

9. Philadelphia School of Circus Arts: From classes, camps and parties, your little ones as small as 18 months can learn the art of aerials, acrobatics and balance. They also have super fun adult classes!

10. Creative Clubhouse: Art, music, science and cooking classes galore. This Havertown gem has something for everyone and they’re not afraid to get messy.

What are your favorite ways to get through Winter?

Adventure Monday: The Crayola “Factory”


A new thing we’re doing around here to keep the adventure alive during the winter doldrums are Adventure Mondays. Each Monday we go on a brand new adventure. It can be anything at all, the only rule is that it has to be somewhere we’ve never been.

Yesterday we visited The Crayola Factory in Easton, PA and I don’t have many nice things to say about it so I’ll try and stay mostly informational. I had heard mixed reviews from people but since Xavier has been really into how things work these days, he’s been asking to go.

1. It took a full 2 hours of driving each way (4 hours total in the car) from Manayunk with no traffic.

2. It cost $18.99 per person (children over 2 are the same price as adults) so that’s $56.97 just to get in the doors – which I think is very expensive.

3. There are 4 floors:

The 1st Floor is home to the crayola store: where you are forced to walk through and be enticed to buy Crayola products that you can find literally ANYWHERE else in the world for 1/2 the price.  The Crayola Cafe: where you can buy a stale soft pretzel for $5 (I’m not joking), a bottle of water for $2.99 or some artificially colored “fruit” drinks. Security checked our bags before entering to make sure we weren’t bringing in any of our own food or drink.

"Fruit" Drinks for Sale (and old ass salads)

“Fruit” Drinks for Sale (and old ass salads)

The 2nd floor was all about crafts. You can print a crayon label with your name on it that takes all of 1 minute, color a page on an iPad that you could do at home, or choose a workshop like sand art, fabric art and more for additional exorbitant fees ($19.99 add on to make sand art!) Lastly, you can watch a show to see how crayons are made. That’s right, there is no factory or actual crayon making here, folks. Wah wahhhhh.

Floor 3 had an 85 foot water table that no ones child was tall enough to reach, so all the parents were doing it and the kids were standing there watching. Except mine, he boosted himself onto the table and then we had to buy a $25 t-shirt at the store because he was soaked. Also on this floor you can do more crafts that you can do at home, like cutting and gluing! The best part about the 3rd floor was the playground which resembled the show Wipe Out. You can bet that I got in there :)

Look at his feet

Look at his feet

The 4th floor was all about melting crayons and painting, dripping and molding them. That was pretty cool except once the art dries, it all chips off the waxy paper that they supply, so be prepared for a meltdown – like that pun?

Overall, I do NOT recommend going to the Crayola Factory. It’s a huge rip off and you can do the same things closer to home (or at home!) and for a fraction of the price. Of course, we made the best of it and Xavier thinks it was great like he would mostly  anything :)

How to Stay Married Forever

Our Beach Wedding in The Florida Keys

Our Beach Wedding in The Florida Keys

Today Mike & I celebrate 6 years of making shit happen together. 6 years ago on a warm beach in The Florida Keys, we vowed to adventure through life hand in hand before we spent the night dancing in a Russian cabaret and the next few weeks in Thailand :)

I have read my fair share of marriage advice over the years, as a self help junkie, I literally cannot help myself. I’ve heard some crazy tips (advocating cheating), some disturbing ideas (lying, stealing), and some genuinely good ones (be vulnerable, be open to change, don’t rely on the other person for your happiness). But I think I’ve narrowed it down to one simple rule to keep things in the green zone.

I know what you’re thinking. 6 years is chump change in the big scheme of life and you’re 100% right. But in our 6 years, 4 of them have been spent raising a strong willed, spirited, high needs kiddo – while managing to better ourselves individually and as a couple and continuing to reach our goals. We are a happy family that continues to grow together and challenge one another. We have walked through the fire together so to speak and keep coming out on the other side, still holding hands. So you don’t have to listen to me, but what have you got to lose?

You ready?

Treat your spouse the way you did when you were first dating.

Remember those days? When you were trying to impress one another? When you cared what your mouth smelled like in the morning, when you had sex no matter the place or time, when you were genuinely interested in what they had to say and felt intrigued by them? The days when you made each other feel important and you each knew it. The days when you were digging deeper into each other’s souls, trying to figure one another out. This is the good stuff and this is where its at, still today.

As humans we are ever changing and we always want to know that other’s find us interesting, especially our spouses.

I realize that a lot more goes into every relationship and it’s not always this simple. Life happens and we might not have the energy for extras. Trust me, we have spent a lot of the last several years in survival mode over here, so I get it. But that’s just the problem. We need to stop thinking of our spouses as extras. Stop putting them on the backburner and bring them back up front a little closer. No matter how busy your day is, you always have time to scribble a little note before you leave the house in the morning, or send a cute/sexy text throughout your day to let them know you’re thinking of them. It literally takes 10 seconds and means a lot to the other person.

If you have a solid base and things are generally healthy and peaceful in your relationship, this advice will work to help you keep the spark alive.

Go ahead and try it, right now, and see what happens!

Breaking the Glass on sand is tough :)

Breaking the Glass on sand is tough :)



Happy Birthday Xavier Marat!


Happy 4th Birthday to the most vibrant little boy I have ever known!!

Xavier has filled our lives with such an abundantly pure joy – in a way that I never knew existed before he made our family whole. I thought I knew what love was before – but there is nothing like the love a Mama has for her baby.

When I was pregnant, I became obsessed with reading other family’s birth stories as a major source of inspiration for the type of birth I wanted to experience. So today, on Xavier’s 4th Birthday, I will share his birth story with you guys.

Xavier’s Birth Story: A Natural Birth at The Birth Center

Our midwives gave Xavier an approximate birthday of February 7th, 2011.

He had been kicking and somersaulting around in there for 40 weeks and 2 days on February 8th, when I decided to do some things to coax him out, gently. I drank red raspberry leaf tea, ate some spicy Thai food, danced around the house and made Mike have some uncomfortable sex with me :). Because, you know, what got you into this mess will get you out.

Around dinnertime on February 8th, I was feeling a little bit crampy and generally off, but nothing crazy. Hearing the echoing words of my midwife, “Eat something before labor that you won’t mind throwing up”, I made some bland pasta with veggies and popped in a movie to watch to try and relax.

During the movie, I continued moving around on the exercise ball to keep things flowing and alleviate my minor cramps. Mike was cleaning and finding it difficult to relax. He kept saying, “I think we should be timing these contractions, I think we should call The Birth Center” but I was playing it cool and not 100% convinced that I was in actual labor. My biggest fear was to get to The Birth Center and be only 3 cm dilated, so I was determined to wait as long as humanly possible to make any moves. I got in the shower and putzed around the house until about 930pm, when finally I agreed that I was in fact, in labor. The contractions had suddenly gotten stronger and I had to move through each one to get to the other side. I stayed with my ball almost the whole time. Mike called The Birth Center to let them know my contractions were about 6 minutes apart, but this was my first baby so Jamesina told us to relax and stay home, it would probably be a while.

I got in a warm bath to ease the back pain I was having with each contraction. During birthing classes, I was told to “not come to The Birth Center until you are unable to talk through your contractions”.   Around midnight they were coming fast and strong, about 2-3 minutes apart but I was still able to talk through them so I figured I’d wait a little longer. Mike called Jamesina to keep her in the loop and she told us to come right away. By this point, each contraction required me to make some type of awful noise (Oh what my neighbors must have heard!) and it took me a while to get out the door. Mike packed the car and came back to help me down the icy steps, stopping in the middle of the street to yell like a maniac, although I’m certain it was more graceful than that :)

This car ride was probably one of the worst in my life. They were tearing up our neighborhood streets and it was BUMPY! I put the front seat back down as far as it would go and got on my knees (butt facing the front of the car for a visual) and used the seatback to hold on to as each contraction came & went. I will never forget that car ride. I don’t remember much except that I was making jokes and my friend and doula, Susan said I was texting her that we were on our way but not to come just yet because it was still early.

We got to The Birth Center at 1:45am and Jamesina gave us the yellow room. She asked me if I wanted to be checked to see how far along I was. I was so nervous for this part. But I had to know, so I laid down and boom! I was at 8cm dilated! I had never felt happier in my life than at that very moment. I jumped up and hugged her. And no wonder that car ride was so awful, I was in transition.

She started the whirlpool for me while Mike called Susan and my Mom and told them they better get there… quickly. The conversation went like this:
“Hi, its Mike, we are at the birth center and Sarah is 8 cm dilated, you better get here, like, now”.

I got in the bath and soon Susan was there (within 12minutes of the phone call – she’s ON IT) by my side talking to me, soothing me and rubbing my lower back. Her, Mike and I were hanging out in the dimly lit bathroom when Jamesina came back in to ask me if I wanted to push. I wasn’t sure, and she reminded me to listen to my body. I stayed in the tub a little longer and then decided I’d like to start pushing.

I started out standing up holding onto the side of the bed, bending my knees and giving in to each contraction. In the beginning I was only pushing once with each contraction. Then my mom showed up and I will never forget the look on her face as she walked into our room mid-contraction.

We shifted positions a few times but I spent most of my pushing with Susan behind me, supporting my thighs with hers, my mom in front of me, allowing me to pull her hands and arms for counter pressure and Mike to my right. I think I was holding onto him as well, but I remember him wiping off my neck and head with a cold washcloth.

My body wasn’t 100% ready, but our baby was coming fast and hard regardless, so I had to move to lying on my side to make things easier on my body. Mike held up my leg while Susan and my mom still had my hands and back with each push. Jamesina and a nurse came in and put on their gowns. I asked them what they were doing and they said, “Getting on our party gear, are you ready to party?” I was so ready to party. Let’s Do This!

Now I was pushing 4 times with each contraction and soon Xavier Marat Kurliand was born @ 3:37 am! Mike got to catch him and announce that we had a baby boy. He was surprised because he was convinced we were having a girl. Mike put him right onto my bare chest for skin to skin contact and he immediately began sucking. He was 6lb. 13oz, 20 inches and completely bald. He had the longest fingers and toes and was just so perfect.

Because my body wasn’t fully ready for him to be born, I experienced 4th degree tearing. With no medication, my midwife and nurse stitched me right back up. When I asked how many stitches, they would only say, “more than 100″, but that’s a story for another time. My vagina hurts just thinking about that. Ouch.

It was the most peaceful entrance into the world I could imagine and everything I had hoped it would be for all three of us (minus the tearing of course). The Birth Center was outstanding and I couldn’t have asked for a better support team.

By 3pm the next afternoon we went home to begin our life as a threesome!