hanging plants indoor garden

DIY: Indoor hanging herb garden

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I have this love-hate relationship with DIY projects. On one hand, I love saving money. On the other, the thought of starting a new project with baby at home sounds exhausting! Nonetheless, I read a lot about the health benefits of indoor plants and playing with soil. My home needed some greenery so I figured it was time to turn my black thumb into a green one!

My home lacks space for little planters so I immediately thought of hanging plants. I stopped by the local home improvement store, priced out the wall brackets, hanging baskets, and plants. After a little calculation, I soon realized things could get expensive. So I did a little Google research and stumbled upon some awesome hanging plants.

This beautifully shot tutorial video shows you how to make hanging plants that save a ton of money and look gorgeous:

Hanging Plants from Green Renaissance on Vimeo.

I bought the following to try out this DIY project:

1. Moss
2. Potting Mix
3. Herbs that grow well indoors. I chose herbs because they not only look adorable but can be used for cooking too! Of course, you can use any other indoor plants as well for this project.

Various herbs, organic potting soil, and moss for making hanging plants.
Various herbs, organic potting soil, and moss for making hanging plants.

I had the following at home:
1. Scissors
2. A spray bottle
3. Water
4. Twine

I called a few girlfriends over on a Friday night. While baby slept, we had some wine and made these cool little plants following the video above. It took a few tries before I could really get the twine on well but eventually they worked out great!

Here are some photos of our finished products!

Indoor herb garden with hanging plants

IMG_1308mint hanging plants

They were so fun and easy to make. My son loves them too!

Note: Make sure you hang them in an area of the house that gets 3-6 hours of sun. To water, soak them in water for 2 minutes once a week and rehang.

Baby beach must haves by bumpintoreality

Important Items to take to the beach with a baby

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:::This post was written in response  to question from Bumpintoreality reader, Isabel. She asked me what my true essentials for the beach were. So here’s my response post!:::

I was born and raised in Southern California so the beach is my 2nd home. Now that I have a baby, there are just a few more items to throw into the beach bag. Summer came early with 90° weather this March, so here’s what I took to the beach this past weekend (top left going clockwise):

Baby beach must haves by bumpintoreality

1. SNACKS! I love snacking and some of my favorite on-the-go snacks these days for baby and me are: freeze dried fruits, trail mix, plantain chips, cucumbers, larabars and any fruits.

2. WATER! I know, it’s an obvious one, but SO important. The sun will just suck the life out of you if you’re not careful. I’m super into different types of mineral waters these days and this volcanic mineral water from Mother’s Market is very hydrating.

3. Some sort of diaper wipe. If you use disposable wipes you would probably take those. I try my best to minimize waste so I use OsoCozy Unbleached Birdseye Flat Diapers as wipes, diapers, bibs, a sheet to layout, and so on. I pair that with California Baby Diaper Area Wash mixed with some water for cleansing.

4. Extra clothing. This is my must-have with baby no matter where I go. At the beach, I like to make sure baby has a long sleeve for sun protection when necessary. Extra warm clothing is also important as temperatures can drop quickly after sunset.

5. Diapers and a wetbag. My favorite diapers in my stash are Best Bottom Cloth Diapers. They’re great to use on the go because the liners are trim, the covers can be reused if not soiled, and all in all are great quality. I usually have 2-3 covers and however many liners I need for the day. I don’t have my wetbag pictured but I use a Bummis Wet Diaper Bag for soiled diapers.

6. A sun hat. There is no 1,000 SPF sunblock that can protect you from the rays of our powerful sun like shade can.

7. Bathing suit. My favorite bathing suit for my son is simply the SoftBums Omni One Size Cloth Diaper. I put the diaper cover on him without any inserts. The fleece liner is soft on his skin and the adjustable lining lets the diaper grow with him. I personally have not had good experiences with this diaper during day time use so it works well as a swim suit. Just remember if you use a cloth diaper as a swim suit, the liner should be taken out in order to prevent weighing the baby down from extra water.

8. A source for shade. This is my son’s play tent at home and we used it at the beach. If you’re going to be at the beach for longer than 30 minutes, it’s wise to find shade, install a canopy, or set up a small tent if the beach allows it. It is best to avoid being at the beach uncovered when the sun is directly overhead. I personally don’t use sunblock when possible and try to utilize shade as a way to prevent sun damage. The littlest babies really should not be in any strong sunlight without shade ever. My son is now 13 months and his skin has gotten gradually used to being out in the sun. I know he can withstand about 20-30 minutes of the sun around 3pm if he’s only in his swimsuit. I prefer to wait until the sun is starting to gradually set so the rays are not as strong. After 30 minutes is up, I have him play in the shade or in the tent until the sun sets.

We were at the beach for a whopping 7 hours without a single fuss. He had the time of his life! I expected him to get cranky after a while but his play tent helped a ton. Whenever he became overwhelmed by all the stimulation, he went into the tent to rest and get away for a little while. We had a great day at the beach and expect many more in the future!

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Olive Is Born

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I was determined to have a 100% natural birth. I wanted to be strong enough to refuse an epidural, but didn’t know what the pain level would be like. I wanted more than anything to be in full control of my birth, and not leave anything to chance. I took a six week HypnoBabies course with my husband, Soomin, and I felt happy, positive, and prepared, but of course I knew that when it came to something I had never done before, it would be unpredictable.

I was two weeks past my due date. Soomin and I had gone to all the extra doctors visits and done all the exams required when you’re two weeks past due. Everything was looking great, but my doc insisted on checking my cervix. Up to this point I had refused all checkups for fear of having my birthing time triggered by something the doctor did and not by natural means. I learned at our Hypnobabies classes that birth begins the moment the baby secrets a special enzyme from it’s lungs into the Placenta which gives the mommy’s body the signal that babies lungs are ready to breath and the baby is ready to come out. I had also learned that I could be a centimeter dilated and still give birth the next day, so I was scared of what the doctor would say.

However, he insisted so much I finally gave in, and when he checked me he said “you’re barely a centimeter dilated and at this point I can’t risk something going wrong. I need to induce you or else you risk the placenta aging and your baby possibly dying inside.”

His words were sharp and stung so deep I left his office in inconsolable tears. I agreed to schedule an induction for Monday, it was Thursday so I still had the hope that baby would come on the weekend.

42 weeks pregnant – going to the beach with my parents to sunbathe and do yoga – why not?

That same night my doc called to let me know he was only looking out for my best interest when he said baby could die, and he had “seen too much,” in his long career and cared too much about us to let anything happen. I knew he was sincere, nonetheless I felt discouraged and a bit scared so I told him to change the induction to Sunday. I hung up the phone and began a long and deep prayer connecting to my belly and the baby inside, my daughter.

“Baby it’s time, baby come out. I love you so much and although I’m not perfect I’ll be the perfect mother for you. I’m ready, papa is ready. Come out baby, come out baby.” I fell asleep praying, I remember.

The next day I called my friend Kerri who’s a Reiki practitioner and I asked if she would come to my house and do a session on me. That evening, around 5pm, she came and in the hour she did Reiki on me I had contractions every 5 mins on the clock. Could it be that something was starting?

That night I spent all night listening to my Hypnosis tapes and kicking the bed trying to get through the intense pressure I felt along my belly. I wedged myself up with pillows and gave in to the low instinctive grunting. I would fall asleep between contractions and wake up kicking and moaning. This went on for hours, but I was so ready, so excited, and felt so prepared that I felt I should try and get through the night and rest as much as I could. Besides, the Hypnosis was keeping me calm and positive.

But that morning around 7am I couldn’t take it anymore. I woke my husband in tears. “I don’t know if I can do this. It’s so strong and it feels so intense. I’m in so much pain.” I was kneeling on the floor with my head on the bed. I was so tired from the night before. I suddenly felt weak and unable.

Soomin immediately got to his feet, placed his hands around me, and reminded me why I had married him in the first place – “babe, this is what you wanted, a natural birth, let’s go, we can do this. I’m here with you and we’ll get through this together.” Something about his certainty got me to my feet and I stood in a full straddle, with my head on my hands against the bed, while he massaged my back. I placed my earphones back in with the Hypnosis tapes on repeat, and once again I felt like I could do it.

Around 9am the pressure was enough to keep me hunched over, so we called our doula and ran the tub with hot water. The moment I went in the tub everything seemed to stop and I wondered if maybe it wasn’t really “go time.” But when she arrived she said the water was helping relive the pressure of the baby’s head on my pelvis, and not to worry because the contractions were still occurring pretty rhythmically. I remember hearing from other women that at one point during your birthing time you “get in the zone.” I didn’t know what that meant until I found it – The Zone. Wow. It was like I lost tract of time. My mind was so focused on the hypnosis, deep breathing, moving, and getting through each wave of pressure, that I didn’t even feel pain or discomfort, I was in a deep meditative state.

I remember Soomin brought up some strawberries and other snacks which I ate inside the tub between contractions, and apple juice tasted so good at that time. I still remember how crisp, sweet, and refreshing it felt in the contrast of my hot and sweaty body and dry mouth. I was grinding through and chipping away at the minutes.

I suddenly felt the urge to stand up out of the water. I was feeling hot and uncomfortable. I’d been on all fours with my head against a towel for a few hours and my knees were hurting. It must have been around noon. The moment my body emerged from the tub I felt a deep pressure in my lower back. I held on to the railing of the bath door and instinctively swayed my hips side to side. I told my doula it was hurting and with her hands on my lower back she applied pressure. After what seemed like a year she asked “Are you still having a contraction?”


“It’s been five minutes.” She said and I turned to look at her surprised.

“What does that mean?” I said to her, but before she could answer I felt a very strong pressure on my rectum, got down on my knees, and in an “almost” scream I said, “I have to go to the bathroom right now!”The next few moments were hectic. I had transitioned from 3cm to 9cm in 5 minutes. My doula yelled for my husband to come upstairs (he had been packing the car downstairs) and asked if we should call 911 because “that baby is coming now.” We finally decided to take the risk and get in the car so I could deliver at Kaiser in Irvine where I had planned to all along. I had a vision and it did not involve staining my bathroom rug with blood.

For 42 weeks I was anxious to meet my daughter and now, on my birthing day, here I was sitting on my left hip in the car, with my legs crossed, asking out loud for baby to “stay in!” My husband encouraged me to listen to my Hypnosis track and take deep breaths, we got to Irvine from Huntington Beach in 10mins, a trek that usually takes 25mins. He was going 90 miles an hour. Thank goodness it was a Saturday and there was no traffic on the freeway, and apparently no cops either.

When we were around the corner from the hospital we called and they said to enter through ER. The moment we parked I felt a “pop,” and I knew my water broke. I leaked a little on the floor as I got out of the car, got on a wheel chair, and headed inside. They signaled us up to the third floor, we took the elevator, and my husband drove me down the long hallways to the Maternity Ward, there too he went 90-miles-an-hour. I remember hanging on to the wheelchair for dear life, and thinking “this is kinda fun.”

When we entered they were already expecting us, a room was ready, and a bed was made. The Midwife on staff asked wasted no time, she instructed I get undressed (no time for birthing robes or cover ups), get on the bed, and spread my legs. I did. I asked if I could get on all fours because I had read it would be easier to birth, but the midwife said “honey, you’re baby is almost out, lay on your back so I can assist you better and so you won’t tear.” I felt a sense of trust and decided right then and there, like a player at a big game, I was going to listen to my coach. I got on my side, she held a leg up, I pushed once. Then she said, baby is so close get on your back.

I surrendered to the experience and the next thirty minutes were unforgettable.

My doula arrived shortly after I had laid on the bed. She drove at the speed limit. She held my hair back and my hand and said “remember your hypnosis.” I closed my eyes as the next big push was nearing, the midwife pushed my legs up, knees bent and towards my armpits (good thing I did yoga through my pregnancy because it came in quite handy right then and there), and my husband was instructed to place a pillow behind my head to lift me up. I was like a little caterpillar curled into a ball.

My water had not fully broken and the midwife said “I’m going to pop your water so we can get this going,” and I felt a warm relief when she did. I also felt the contractions become instantly stronger. I knew my daughter was soon to arrive.

Oddly enough, and I have to share this, there were a few other people in the birthing room. Because I had gone straight in I wasn’t able to fill out all the standard paperwork. So as I rested between contractions, a nurse would ask me questions like “have you ever smoked?” Or “Is this your first child?” But as I neared one of my last pushes she asked “have you ever had suicidal thoughts?” And I remember turning my head and saying “Is this the twilight zone?! I’m having a baby! No!” And my husband jumped after me and said “Don’t bother her, I’ll answer those.” Hospitals need a lesson in tact.

After that minor interruption to my mental flow I continued pushing. I pushed so hard I felt like my insides were coming out. I literally thought for a moment I would birth a baby, my intestines, and my lungs. I pushed every time I was instructed to push, but surprisingly it was also when I felt it happening. It’s like everyone was in rhythm and I felt so safe. I was breathing deeply and sweating. It felt so raw and exciting. There was zero fear, there was no time for it. This was the moment when I remembered what one of the Hypnosis tracks said – to hold on to my baby, and when the time came for her to come, tell her mommy was ready to meet her, and let go of her hand – and I visualized just that. What amazed me was that in that very moment the midwife said “I see the head, here she is!”

She asked if I wanted to touch her, but I squirmed and said “no, no, get her out,” as I felt another intense pressure thrusting my body into a rhythmic motion. The midwife grabbed my hands anyways and made me feel my daughters head. I’m so glad she did because it encouraged me to give her that last important push that she asked for. I took a deep breath and couldn’t help but grunt and scream as I pushed my heart out. Literally. I felt it, baby’s head, shoulders, hips, all twisting and squirming through the exit hole. My hands were on her little body and I pulled her out of my body for good.

She swam, covered in a jelly slippery gew onto my chest. I held her so tight and repeated out loud over and over again “mama’s here, mama’s here, mama’s here.” I looked at my husband who kissed me and reassured me and I said “I did it babe! I did it!”

“You did babe, you did” He said.

Olive Hannah Kim was born at 1:53pm that Saturday, weighing in at 8.2lbs. She was swollen and perfect and she changed my life forever.

Olive is born
So swollen and so small

Giving birth to Olive was the most empowering experience of my life. More so than walking on hot coals at a Tony Robbins Event. It’s like, there was a fire within me, a need for expression, to prove to myself that I was capable, and to feel life in its fullest form. Besides that I truly believed from the start, and am confident of this now: women are meant to do this. Women were designed to give birth, it’s an organic experience, and there’s no room for fear – although at times it’s very intense – because love is the predominant feeling all throughout and it is enough to get you through it. Was there pain? Sure. Was it manageable? 100% Yes. Do you have to be prepared? Yes!

I remember the second thing I said after Olive was here, besides “I did it!” was “do I have to do this again?” And my husband and I both laughed, because the answer is yes. And I’m willing. I can’t wait to find out what kind of birth baby number two has in store for us. It might involve some reckless driving.

Is Cord Blood Banking Worth It?

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There are so many decisions to make as a pregnant woman. They go well beyond what maternity jeans look best and will stretch out until 40 weeks. Early in my pregnancy, I quickly signed up for a few parenthood websites. As soon as I released my e-mail into the abyss, my inbox filled up with cord blood banking offers. Descriptions of saving my baby’s stem cells sounded like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. The ads seemed to promise a cure-all. Initially, my husband and I were sold. Why wouldn’t we spend the extra couple thousand at birth to help ensure life long health for my baby and possibly other family members as well? After receiving literally over 50 emails about cord blood banking over the course of my pregnancy, I became a little curious at all the top-notch marketing. What are stem cells and how can they help my baby? Who does the cord blood banking and does it actually work? Is there really a benefit?

The National Institutes of Health states, “given their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer new potentials for treating diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease.” If you read further about the possibilities of stem cells, it sounds like the building blocks for some sort of future 3D human printing machine.

Nonetheless, further research led me to this video which answered the rest of my questions:

The video talks about how if an individual is in need of live-saving stem cells from certain rare illnesses, there are public stem cell banks where a match can be found in nearly 95% of cases. So basically in most cases, scientists could dip into the public stem cell bank and find a match. Also, if a person is born with certain types of illnesses, their own stem cells can’t be used anyways.

Aside from the questionable benefits of private blood banking,  there’s debate about the storing cord blood if it requires early cord clamping at birth. Respected midwife Rachel Reed posts about the specifics of how cord blood is drawn and what it requires on her blog Midwife Thinking. It sounds like it’s more beneficial to allow all the blood from the cord to enter the baby at the time of birth so the baby receives as much iron as possible. She mentions that blood can potentially be drawn from delayed clamping, however most doctors are reluctant to wait 15 minutes in order to allow the blood to drain after birth. In addition, there is a possibility that not enough blood is collected in the case of delayed cord clamping.

My husband and I spent a month or so doing our research in order to weigh our options. The truly annoying thing about making parenthood decisions is that nothing is black and white. Do we spend the $2,000 upfront for the potential that our child would be that 5% of people that can’t find a match in a public bank? Do we make an investment in scientific breakthrough that has yet to be reached? In the end, we decided it wasn’t worth it for us. We ended up using the money towards ice cream and beer. (Kidding and not kidding :p)


Links referenced:



Disclaimer: This blog’s aim is to stimulate thinking and to share alternative information on birth and parenthood. The posts are personal views. They do not intend to provide medical advice or recommendations for individuals.

My response to a traumatic home birth making rounds on the internet: “My True Feelings Regarding My Home Birth Experience”

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Author’s note: This response to a home birth story in no way is meant to put down this mother’s experience or to question it.  I was fortunate to have well trained midwifery staff at my birthing, but this woman feels she did not. Her story further shares the importance of finding well trained birth professionals whether OB or midwife that you can trust. My intentions are to highlight the unpredictability of labor whether at hospital or at home.

So there’s this scary home birth story that was published today and I feel inclined to address it. It hits home for me because some aspects of our labors were similar. The difference is that she states her “baby almost died” and that she almost died because of her home birth.

To break it down, her baby was reportedly born in the brow presentation and also had shoulder dystocia. Her post quotes, “Brow presentation is the least common of all fetal presentations and the incidence varies from 1 in 500 deliveries to 1 in 1400 deliveries. The incidence of shoulder dystocia is generally reported to be between 0.5 % and 1.5%…” Both types of presentation make labor hard on both mother and care provider. There are 2 types of brow presentation and the landmarks on the baby’s skull can distinguish them. One type can snap the baby’s neck and kill it. The other can be delivered vaginally, but can be stressful on the baby. Of course, with an obstetrician, one alternative to a stressful vaginal delivery would be a c-section.

This mother’s post bleeds pain, confusion, and regret. Her wounds are deep and I sympathize. They deserve comfort and consolation. While her story is meant to bring attention to the risks of homebirth, I can’t help examine her story and that of her photographer’s. I can’t help try and understand exactly what happened so I can come to a conclusion, “would she have been safer at a hospital from the beginning?” After all, that’s the million dollar question in the natural birthing world. Which is better: Hospital or home? You can read my post here about why I made my own educated decision to birth at home versus with an OB at a hospital. 

While my home birth did not end up at the hospital, it could have. Much of what this mother describes is all too familiar: the meconium, (meconium show is a sign of possible fetal distress and can be toxic to the baby), the oxygen tank, baby not breathing immediately after birth. I went through it too. The only difference is that my midwives followed different protocol and at one point stopped my labor contractions to physically insert their hand into me and move the baby.  In my case, I feel my midwives saved me from major abdominal surgery.  They informed me every step of the way. There was not a single moment where I felt out of control. In this woman’s case, she says there was no informed consent. There aren’t enough details in this mother’s story to conclude if anything else could have been done in her situation by the midwives.

In the end, what matters is that she feels regret for not laboring next to an OR. She feels that she endangered herself and her baby.  The only issue I have is that I’ve read other stories about complications like brow and shoulder dystocia that end in death even when delivered in a hospital. So would she feel the same sense of regret had she been at a hospital? It is totally possible. After all, some of the pictures like the one below exhibit how big of a home birth supporter she was.

[photo was removed for copyright issues. The photo was a picture of a bumper stick on her dresser that states, "DARE to keep your baby off drugs. Have a home birth"]

It’s possible if things went badly at the hospital she would have blamed her OB.

In this case, would a c-section have been better? It is highly likely if the complications were diagnosed with enough time. However, there is a possibility that the complications were undiagnosed until it was too late. This can occur at a hospital as well. And in the end, the baby did come out vaginally, the baby had a 2 day stay at the hospital, and is now healthy. It is very possible that things could have ended up exactly the same at the hospital.

All in all, we cannot control birth. It is unpredictable and that can be scary. So is being in a hospital for birthing the safest? Not necessarily. There are benefits to a home birth that a hospital cannot provide, and benefits to a hospital birth that a home birth cannot provide. In an ideal world we would have the best of both. This is the case in countries like England and Japan where midwifery care works with obstetric care. In the U.S. however, side-by-side midwifery and OB care is only found in a minority of hospitals.

There are risks to birthing in any case. Some emergencies cannot be helped no matter where it happens.  I personally know a mother who  died giving birth at a  hospital. I know a baby who died being born at a hospital. There is no complete safety net in labor. The benefit of a home birth is a more relaxed environment with a lower chance of medically unnecessary interventions. For some, this factor doesn’t matter. For others, it’s huge.

Instead of focusing on “I almost died,” I hope this mother can one day say, “I survived, I endured.” It is a lesson for everyone that well trained birth professionals are important whether midwife or OB. There is a time and place for both. At the same time, no matter how experienced a professional may be, sometimes unpredictable, uncontrollable issues occur. Life can be scary, but labor taught me that I always have two options: to stress out about all the pain, or  just chill out and release myself to whatever fate God has in store. After all, what is it really that we control? The weather? Our health? Our heart beat? I’m not all too sure we control anything, really. When I was able to give myself up during labor, to go deep within myself and surrender all fear, that was when I felt absolutely no pain. I hope other women can experience this too. There does not have to be fear in labor. We can make our best educated decisions to labor at home or at the hospital, but in the end we can’t control everything. C’est la vie.

Final note: if you are looking into doing  a home birth, it is the safest route to make sure your midwives are not only equipped with all the emergency equipment necessary, but are trained and educated enough to understand when a transfer is necessary.


This post was in reference to the following Popsugar articles:




My Birth Plan for an All Natural Labor and Delivery

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It’s relatively common for women to have a birth plan when going into labor these days. This is due to greater education surrounding labor options and the unpredictable assignment of hospital staff. Most women who have a birthing plan typically have specific requests for their labor. A birthing plan does not mean your labor will go exactly as you wish. There are various factors surrounding labor that are out of our control. However, there are MANY factors that can be controlled and can potentially prevent more difficult labor both physically and psychologically on mom and baby.

If you study general labor protocol in the US and the hormone oxytocin that begins labor contractions, you may begin to understand why a birthing plan can help make labor better.  For instance, if you are the type of person that gets stressed out by people who yell, or hate fluorescent lighting, or feel very uncomfortable around your mother-in-law being in the delivery room (true story…this happened to someone I know and she couldn’t say anything at the time), then you may want to put in your birthing plan, “please, no loud voices during my labor, I’d like my room lit dimly and prefer the fluorescent lights off if possible, and would like only my husband and hospital staff in the delivery room.” Of course, there may be cases where the birthing plan is thrown out the window for one reason or another. There are actually facilities and clinics that are anti-birth plans like this crazy place in Utah:


This clinic obviously believes in dominant healthcare, where the doctor is all knowing God and the patient should not have a say in how they are treated. This really ticks me off because from the research that I have done, much of labor is very very emotional and psychological as much as it is physical. A mother may have intuition about what should happen during her own labor that a doctor may not understand. For example, taking a walk or a hot shower can help labor progress faster. Birth is not always numbers and calculations.  A birth contract or birth plan attempts to ensure the patient’s comfort levels are met.  A doula helps mom with any physical or emotional support, and bradley is simply an educational tool!

There are some people that prefer not to think about their healthcare whatsoever. They prefer to freely give themselves at the mercy of whichever doctor they end up with. I, on the other hand, do not trust any old doctor. The M.D. to me does not indicate the kind of morals or care a person has. I work in the medical field and know many others that do as well. Having met many doctors who can be slimy, I just don’t trust every doctor. Actually, I trust a very small minority. I don’t say this to freak women out about their docs, but to say that in every profession, there are good workers and bad. There are people who take pride and care in their work. Then, there are those just looking to get a paycheck. Having a birth plan can help give the doctor a sign that you are not to be toyed with however they wish.

So here was my birth plan. This is not a “how-to” make a birth plan as there are many other links like that out there. I just wanted to share my birth plan and I’ll leave notes on why I put what I put with a little “^” to indicate my notes. Most of my plan is based off of a hypnobabies birth plan. You can download the Word file of my birth plan here: My Birth Preferences. Enjoy!


Birth Preferences

For: Mindy Song

I would appreciate being assigned a nurse who enjoys working with couples who have prepared for a natural birth. Since I will be in hypnosis and highly suggestible, please never tell me what I will feel. I prefer to have my own experience. Thank you.

I will be using self-hypnosis to manage my birthing time and may not be immediately responsive to questions during pressure waves (commonly known as contractions). Please wait until my pressure wave ends and my eyes open to converse, or speak directly to my Birth Partner, Albert. Because of the high level of concentration, I request low lights and quiet voices.

In the event of an emergency situation with either myself or my baby, I am happy to discuss, however briefly, any measure which may be deemed medically necessary prior to their implementation; and, in the event of a normal birth, as we suspect this will be, we prefer:

  • Please no IV. A Saline-Lock is fine.

^I requested this so I could have free mobility during labor. I also felt comfortable simply drinking water during labor—a laboring mother is not a sick patient and I did not want to be treated like one unnecessarily. Interestingly enough about 6 hours into my labor, I ended up getting an IV with the suggestion of my midwife because my labor was pretty rough. I had the IV at home and everything was fine. I continued to drink water too and ended up peeing 2 liters after I gave birth!!!

  • I prefer intermittent monitoring

^ I did not want constant fetal monitoring as that would require being strapped to the bed, and possibly an incessant, beeping machine. I wanted to be calm and relaxed. I also found no benefit to constant fetal monitoring as in this Cochrane review (Alfirevic, Devane et al. 2006there were no differences between women who received intermittent auscultation and those who received continuous EFM in perinatal mortality, cerebral palsy, Apgar scores, cord blood gasses, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, or low-oxygen brain damage. The findings were consistent in both low-risk and high-risk women. The only benefit was lowering the risk of newborn seizures, which is very rare at 0.2%. 

  • Please do not offer pain medication or ask me what level my pain is. I know what my options are, and I will ask for medications if I need them.

^ I did not want to be offered an epidural over and over again if I did not need it. According to Dr. Laura Goetzl, Maternal fever following epidural analgesia complicates up to one-third of nulliparous labors. I did not want to complicate my labor unnecessarily with the chance of a fever which can result in harm to the baby with a lower apgar score or seizure as indicated by a study published by the Academy of Pediatrics. 

  • I would appreciate a minimal amount of vaginal exams and do not want to be informed about my progress in dilation.

^Every vaginal exam increases the risk of infection.  While dilation from 1cm to 10 cm may indicate when mom can push, it does not indicate how fast labor will go. A mom can be “stuck” at 5cm for several hours. Or, a mom can go from 1cm to 10cm in an hour. Vaginal exams give healthcare providers an idea of what’s going on during labor but does not tell everything. During my labor, I wanted to limit checks so I could progress naturally without pressure. At my first check a few hours into my labor I was 9cm already! I was happy to be so fully dilated without a constant pressure to open up. 

  • During second stage, I would appreciate warm, moist compresses and perineal massage to help reduce the risk of tearing/episiotomy. I do not want an episiotomy, but am willing to discuss its medical necessity if one should arise.

^Episiotomy during vaginal delivery was first recommended in 1920 as a way to protect the pelvic floor from lacerations and protect the fetal head from trauma. It was rapidly adopted as a standard practice and has been widely used since then. However, over the last several decades, there has been a growing body of evidence that episiotomy does not provide these purported benefits and may contribute to more severe perineal lacerations and future pelvic floor dysfunction. The most horrifying episiotomy of a young girl can be witnessed in this youtube video.

Regarding this video take from improvingbirth.com: 

Dr. Michael Klein, MD, CCFP, FCFP, FAAP (Neonatal/Perinatal), FCPS, is a pediatrician/neonatologist and family physician researcher and educator based at Children’s & Women’s Hospital and the Centre for Developmental Neurosciences & Child Health of the Child and Family Research Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Klein pioneered randomized controlled studies on episiotomy in the 1980s and 90s, conducting over ten years of research that reached some groundbreaking conclusions (see articles here, here, and here). Thanks to his work, we have known for over 20 years that while episiotomy can be appropriate in rare circumstances, when applied routinely, it “cause(s) the very trauma that it was supposed to prevent” (see article here).

Of Kelly’s case, Dr. Klein said, “The physician here applied a medio-lateral episiotomy unnecessarily early through thick tissue, but rather than making a single definitive cut, he makes a series of short cuts that cause unnecessary bleeding and will interfere with healing. The episiotomy was done so early that the perineal tissues did not have time to stretch, so that the tissues were thick and bloody, a situation that would not have pertained if the professionals had waited… Having decided in advance to do an episiotomy, the doctor apparently does not even know how to do one–how to time it to minimize trauma. This behavior makes it more likely that severe trauma will occur, including tearing into or through the rectum. Our research and the research of others show that it is episiotomy that is the cause of severe trauma, not the prevention of severe trauma….”

He went on to say that the “doctor and the nurses were simply unwilling to allow time for the perineum to stretch, so that episiotomy would be not needed…. The mother is clear that she does not want an episiotomy. Her wishes are ignored and the clearly planned episiotomy is simply justified in advance so that the professionals can do what they planned to do anyhow…. It was all about the impatience of the professionals who were not remotely interested in the values and needs of the mother. They just wanted the birth expedited. This is a picture that was often routine in the past, but since the early 1980s this approach cannot be justified, if it ever was.” (Emphasis added)

Dr. Klein concluded, “this video shows a woman assaulted by uncaring professionals who ought to be sanctioned.”

Kelly, the woman in the video suffered from severed post partum depression and pelvic floor issues which required rehabilitation. Such a sad story. 

  • We will provide blankets and will dry our baby ourselves. Please allow me time to get to know my baby (2 to 3 hours) before removing him from my chest for newborn procedures.

^Hospitals are increasingly “skin to skin” friendly. Not all are. I wanted time to bond with my new baby and help regulate my baby’s body temperature with my own. I did not want his first moments of life being rubbed down by a stranger and set under a heating lamp like a fastfood hamburger. 

  • Please do not clamp or cut the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsing.

^Research neither backs or or refutes delayed cord clamping in full term infants. There is a proven benefit for pre-term babies. Many argue that delayed cord clamping will help ensure baby receives more iron. There is debate surrounding this topic and most natural friendly moms desire delayed cord clamping. 

  • I appreciate your patience in waiting for the placenta to detach naturally.

^Again, i wanted the process of the placenta coming out very natural. Mine came out about 15 minutes after my baby arrived. Just slithered on out. 

  • We will be saving the cord blood and placenta.

^Hospitals will typically discard these items unless you request otherwise. My placenta was a gift from heaven. I swear by the pills I had made from them…really helped balance my hormones postpartum!

Personal birth plan notes for my doula:

  •  Aromatherapy candle burning with lavender, and frankincense, neroli.
  • Essential Oil massage between contractions: foot massage, low back massage with 20 drops lavender, 8 drops clary sage in 4 oz carrier oil
  • Changing positions every hour utilizing the birth ball.
  • Drink 16 oz of water every hour (coconut water)
  • Eat carrot sticks and lara bars and nuts



Links referenced:







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Confirmation from a female doctor that cesarean sections are often medically unnecessary

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Dr. Carla C. Keirns is an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University and associate director for medical education for the Center for Medical Humanities there.  She labored in a hospital and tells her story about dealing with the pressures of going into a c-section when she didn’t find it medically necessary. For most of us who are not medical doctors, it is incredibly difficult to navigate the hospital world when we’re pregnant and in labor. How can we trust our healthcare providers when they may be looking at the clock rather than at our bodies?  Keirns writes a refreshing, honest article and her post is here:

Pregnant doctor finds intense pressure to have a Caesarean delivery

I also really really liked this illustration as well done by Brett Ryder for the Washington Post.

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One test you can prepare for: Group B or GBS Colonization

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If you’re pregnant or have been pregnant, you know that hospitals will want to put you through a bunch of tests you’ve never heard of. One of these tests may be Group B Streptococcus or GBS. As stated in Mothering.com, “the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that all pregnant women be screened between weeks 35 and 37 of their pregnancies to determine if they are carriers of GBS. Studies show that approximately 30 percent of pregnant women are found to be colonized with GBS in one or both areas“.

30 percent is a lot! But that’s because many people normally carry the GBS bacteria without a problem. However, during labor, GBS can pass onto a newborn vaginally, and that is when issues can arise. For that reason, if a pregnant woman tests positive, the protocol is to place the mother on antibiotics during labor. The only issue is that the use of antibiotics should be limited to emergency situations when possible. Babies and moms exposed to antibiotics run an elevated risk of developing yeast infections, including diaper rash and thrush. These issues can make the first days and weeks of parenthood much more difficult. Webmd also states that “antibiotic overuse doesn’t just lead to drug-resistant superbugs, it may also permanently wipe out the body’s good bacteria. Good bacteria in the gut help people in many ways, including helping make vitamins and boosting immunity. Some researchers think that killing them off with antibiotics may be contributing to rises in chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, and cancer.”

People who follow holistic living tend to care a lot about “good gut bacteria.” After all, “70% of the cells that make up the body’s immune system are found in the wall of the gut.” So if one wants a strong immune system, a strong gut would be essential.   In my household, I try my best to protect the sanctity of our guts through good nutrition, prohibiting the use of chemical hand sanitizers with triclosan, eating probiotics daily in foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and limiting the use of antibiotics to emergencies.

As for GBS, there is actually a way to help reduce your colonization while pregnant. [Current research implies that this regimen can help reduce the occurrence of GBS colonization, however it has yet to be scientifically proven. Research is currently underway by Floragen to help determine if probiotics help the vaginal flora]. My midwifery put me on this 2 week regimen before my GBS test:

  • Acidophilus- 3-4 billion live cultures per day (you can get this from Floragen Probiotic or yogurt. One Dannon yogurt has 1.7 billion live cultures). 
  • Echinacea (450 mg) 4x per day (Make sure it does not contain Goldenseal as echinacea is often paired with Goldenseal but should not be taken during pregnancy). 
  • Vitamin C (500 mg) 4x per day
  • Zinc (100mg) 2x per day

Taking that many supplements can be confusing so here’s a little time table I followed:

8:30am: 6oz probiotic, zinc, vitamin c, Echinacea

11:30am: Echinacea, Vitamin C

3pm: Echinacea, Vitamin C

6pm: Zinc, Vitamin C, Echinacea

8pm: 6oz Probiotic 

Thankfully, my test came back negative. Who knows if I would have been negative already, but I certainly was glad to take this immune boosting regimen. At 35 weeks pregnant a bunch of people around me got sick, and I feel like this regimen kept me from catching their sicknesses! WellnessMama also suggests the use of garlic. You can read her blog post on the same topic here. She was actually able to get rid of GBS after testing positive without the use of antibiotics!

I’m no doctor or a medical professional. But I’m a mom on a serious hunt to help my family be as healthy as possible. From my own experience in seeing both a OBGYN and midwife, I learned that levels of care in traditional western medicine and holistic practices are extremely different. In my perspective, prevention and holistic care aligns with how I want to live my life. I’m just sharing my journey here in hopes to help encourage others who believe what I do.









The Handbook, South Coast Midwifery & Women’s health Care


8 Reasons Why Labor is JUST LIKE SEX

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Many expectant mothers ask me to describe labor because I was able to have a pain-free unmedicated experience. The best example I could come up with is sex. Yes, labor is just like sex. Here’s why:

1. Everyone has a different experience. Depending on the person, sometimes it’s long, sometimes it’s short, for some it’s scary, for others it’s an awakening experience. Some people feel empowered by it, and for some unfortunate others it’s scary and painful.

2. The same exact hormone is released during sex and labor. Oxytocin helps a person bond, develop a maternal instinct, helps in enduring friendship, and last but not least, orgasm! Interestingly enough, a woman needs oxytocin to go into labor. The synthetic version of oxytocin is pitocin however just like any man-made substitute it definitely does NOT process exactly the same in our body. Women have varying reactions to the same dose and it is often reported that they cause harder, more painful contractions.  Oxytocin initiates labor in a pregnant mama by causing the uterus to contract. These contractions cause the cervix to dilate and the baby to move down the birth canal. Our body works in harmony with mind and body.  If you allow stress or cortisol to be released, it will counteract oxytocin and can actually stall labor! So stressing out during labor or sex does not help a woman relax and open up.  LET THAT OXYTOCIN FLOOOOW.

3. If you’re not ready and fear sex or labor, it’s painful. Let’s face it. Women get raped by psychopathic men.  An intruder who violently penetrates the sacred woman space will inflict pain as her body would be tense, dry, and closed up. If you fear labor, your body will be tense. Your jaw might be tight and your fists may be clenched.  Such a tense body does not help you open up. If you can imagine trying to stick a carrot into pursed lips, rather than a loose jaw, the pursed lips would be harder to penetrate. Or, if you’re having a bowel movement and restrict your opening while trying to push, you’ll have a hard time releasing your waste! Likewise, it’s important to release fear and relax during labor so that your baby can slip on out.  Release, release, release. Just let your body do what it was made to do!

4. If you look forward to sex and labor, allow your body to run oxytocin, trust your body, and trust your partner, you CAN have a powerful, FEEL GOOD experience. I don’t have to describe sex because I think there’s a general consensus that unless you have a dysfunction, sex is supposed to be pleasurable. On the flip side, it’s less known that labor can be pleasurable. There’s actually a whole documentary called Orgasmic Birth. Women orgasm during labor!!!  Although I did not orgasm during labor (maybe that’s TMI) I still had my very own pain free, positive  experience. You can read my story here.

5. Labor or Sex will leave you either scarred or forever empowered and changed.

6. You won’t know until you experience it and media can have a major effect on what to expect. Virgins can only imagine what sex is like. Virgins can imagine, fantasize, or watch something in the media to portray what the experience may be like. However, more often than not, what happens on screen is not what happens in real life. Just the same, no first time mother can know what labor will be like. And unfortunately, a scary ER moment with a screaming mother makes for a more interesting movie scene rather than a slow, gradual, calm labor. But just because that mom on TV looks like she’s in hell, doesn’t mean that has to be the same experience for you. Just like how that barbie looking girl or that 8-pack GQ model probably won’t be you in the sheets.

7. It’s not entirely under your control. As much as you can prep yourself for sex or labor, some physical aspects of labor and sex are just out of our control.

8. You can prepare and educate yourself. You might prep sex with…well, I won’t go into the details. You can also prep yourself for labor. Diet plays a huge role in the creation of your baby and placenta. The type of nutrition you get during pregnancy can also impact your labor and reduce the risk of many different complications such as pre-eclampsia. Education can empower you with tools to help overcome fear and anxiety. I spent 8 weeks preparing myself psychologically for my birthing time and I’m so glad I did. It empowered me with tools to use during my labor which helped me have the pain free experience I expected!

There’s this sad seperation in the western medical world of our mind and body. You’ll see a general practitioner for a physical sickness and a psychiatrist for a mental illness. The body and mind are so connected and the more you can understand and trust your body in labor, the better your experience can be.  Many women in the U.S.  turn to an obstetricians to help bring their baby into the world. As much as OBs are fantastically smart and licensed to use forceps or cut open your womb, they may or may not be sensitive to your emotional needs. There is a psychological and emotional aspect of labor just as in sex that should be addressed. Unfortunately those needs often get thrown out the window once all the beeping machines turn on.  For all those expectant mothers out there, trust your amazing body that is creating life!  Let your birthing experience and the beginning of motherhood get off on the right foot by allowing your oxytocin to flow naturally from within. That same oxytocin that opens up your body and brings your baby into your arms will be the same oxytocin that gives you that motherly, nurturing bond. Get down with your bad mama self and labor on!

XOXO to all the mamas out there.


Why I went from seeing an OB-GYN at a hospital to a home birth with a midwife

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I don’t go around parading that I had a home birth to new moms I meet. However, occasionally, the subject comes up. I know it’s an uncomfortable topic for some people because there seems to be this whole natural vs. medicalized labor world. I don’t share my beliefs to put anyone down–it’s simply to share the journey I made. I went from knowing nothing about labor to researching day and night for 6 months. I feel that there are many assumptions made in the general public about the way labor is “supposed to be” and much of this information is not necessarily true.

I made this video to explain how and why I went from deciding with my husband to have a home birth. I am a little weird and into counter culture, but our decision was a clear, educated decision about the well-being of our family. We try our best to live holistically, to be mindful of our air, water, and food. We believe our bodies to be just like plants and that if we do good things to nourish our bodies and mind, that we will have healthier lives. From all the research I did, I found that a home birth with midwives we interviewed, was better for my body and mind. I took into account the positive aspects of a natural vaginal labor, my mental health and risk for postpartum depression (because of family history of depression and bi-polar), and also the experience for my new baby. Below is a 30 minute video explaining from A-Z how we came to the conclusion and what our experience was like.

Here are some research articles, books, documentaries, and various links. There’s actually a ton more research but here is just some of the links I’ve compiled for this blog post:

Orgasmic Birth Documentary→ Orgasmic Birth

Hypnobabies→ Hypnobabies Website

Maternal Death Rate in U.S. vs other countries→Washington Post Article
CIA Govt Statistics of Maternal Death Worldwide

Interventions during labor that can lead to a higher chance of C-section as well as info about c-section, forceps, and other procedures that have life long effects on the female body→ Childbirth Connections Article

C-section, Birth Trauma and links to PPD or PTSD→ VBAC.com Article

PTSD & Traumatic labor →“Maternity-care providers say the increase in the number of medical obstetric procedures in labor and delivery, like Caesarean sections and premature births, could be contributing to PTSD.” Wallstreet Journal Article

Gut Bacteria from the Birth Canal via Vaginal Delivery → Science Nordic Article

Medical News Today Article

Sexual trauma linked to difficulty in labor→ National Institutes of Health Research, Our Bodies Ourselves Article
Labor and food during labor→Dr. Sears ARticle
But in hospitals they have outdate policies because of liability that require laboring mothers to not eat→WebMD

Ina May’s Guidebook to Childbirth→ Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth


Progressive thoughts on childbirth, birth control, baby led weaning, elimination communication, cloth diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding, parenthood, and much more!