An Olympian, an Opera Singer and My Thirteenth Birth (Part 1)

baby susanna 544

A little over four weeks ago, I gave birth to our thirteenth child.

Whoa.  Did I really just type that?

As weird as it feels to type out that number, my life doesn’t really feel weird at all.  It “feels” awesome.  Like I’m in my dream and walking it out.

It also feels tough. Gut-level, heart-wrenching, and fear-fighting.  And this pregnancy and birth are no exception, though obviously, I should be a pro at this point! Right!!!?? As I’ve heard from many well-meaning people, “Oh, wow! I bet they just fall out by now, don’t they?” Grrrr.

So this thing about having babies.  It’s been a ride.  And to be truthful, if you knew me back in the day, you would know I couldn’t have cared less about a family gig.  I was the fiercely driven, insanely ambitious goal-making girl who planned on a life of traveling the world playing classical piano.  Or, maybe becoming a doctor.  Alone.

I tell you this background so you’ll know this wasn’t my great idea.  My amazing and beautiful crew came to me without my permission! And let me emphatically say, THANK YOU GOD. This was a God thing.  And I couldn’t be more grateful!!! 🙂

With the above information in mind, you’ll see what I’m saying when I lay out the way my pregnancies and births came to fruition.  All of the ambition and drive with which I attacked everything in my life “pre-family” turned into a blazing flame for the world-changing power of little humans whom I hoped with all my heart I could help love and nurture into phenomenal big people.  With God’s and my hubby’s help.

So, my attitude about these little ones getting here physically was extremely optimistic.  Which is the first thing of all first things I would love to throw out there for you as a female.  Yes, I’m talking about pregnancy and birth….but we are females.  We are nurturing, incubating, and emotional creatures.  We are the “wombed” man, as my hubby says.  We have never needed “liberating,” because we are the LIBERATORS – the ones who bring life to this planet.  No one gets here without us! WHOOHOO!

Hence, knowing the bigger picture (for me) has directly affected (again, in my opinion) how my physical body has followed through.  Meaning, I am “in my body” (we are a spirit, we have a soul and live in a body) and what “I” think and believe MOST DEFINITELY correlates with the way my physical body responds.

No, I’m not wanting to sound preachy, forgive me if I do, but to be fair about the topic at hand, I have to be honest. Building a human is not just a physical event.  It’s deeply spiritual and emotional and mental, among other things.

“So Jen, are you saying I can just pray a lot and talk a positive game and eat cheetos and  everything will be ok?” No.  I’m not saying that, haha! So let me set the record straight.  From the inside out…spirit, soul and body, here’s a basic protocol I strive to follow (it’s not perfect by any means) which touches on all those important areas.  Here we go!

Spiritual and emotional stuff….

  1.  WORDS.  I work really, REALLY hard at saying positive words. Truth be told, I talk to myself.  I tell my body “we can do this.”  I say how grateful I am for the new little one on the way. If people ask me about being pregnant (AGAIN, haha!) I will probably respond with something like, “I’m super thankful for this baby.” I might WANT to say I’m tired of having to pee 50 times per day but that’s NOT what I”m going to say. Know where I’m going with that? Yes, I may FEEL tired of that or any other number of complaints that are very real. But I know that how things feel physically will be improved by what I think, believe and say.  It doesn’t mean I’m not feeling tough things.  It just means I want to rise above them, and after all these years I know my words will help me find that place.
  2. MUSIC.  I listen to a lot of music. I take a shower each morning with my Pandora station playing in the background.  I use that time to sing and worship and get my brain and heart in sync to tackle the day.  I make that time a focal point to be thankful and grateful.  I also  am “practicing” being able to relax and focus ahead of time for the impending birth. The music is basically a “trigger” for my behavior.  One of my favorite soundtracks is from the movie “Spirit.” It’s a children’s movie but the music was written by Bryan Adams (my absolute FAVE!).  During Galilee’s birth I asked my oldest daughter to start playing this towards the really tough part.  When I heard that music, tears started rolling down my face.  It was an emotional step in my labor that was both relaxing and empowering.  Our little girl was born about an hour after that.  I know the music was significant.
  3. MEDITATION.  This relates directly to number 1. I have a little note card rolodex-type thing in which I write scriptures and meditations and sayings about birth, conquering things, overcoming pain, triumph, etc.  One of my favorites is “If I can grow this baby, I can push out this baby.” Also “Do not shrink back.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  “I am totally relaxed.”  You get the idea.  This takes a little work to write down and read through each day but it helps so much! I once heard a woman say  “Words are the way we program ourselves to believe.” In reminding myself of these statements over and over, I am working on training my mind much like an athlete or musician.  (And incidentally, no one thinks those people are weird to meditate on victory, to “see themselves” making baskets or if they talk to themselves about some intense upcoming contest…i.e., an Olympian or Pavarotti. So why is it weird to prepare for the marathon of birth?? No, it’s not! You don’t see these people on television saying “yea, well, I thought I’d never make it, and I think my defense is just awful, and I don’t every practice….blah, blah,  blah.”  NO. They don’t do that!)

There are other little things I could add here, like taking time to practice relaxing with something called hypnobirthing, along with being very diligent about what kind of entertainment I watch and listen to.  If something goes in my ears and eyes, it always has the potential to affect my emotional state and emotional health.




Bringing a living soul into the world is an earth-shattering event and is worth all the time and attention you can give to it.  I can say that of all the quests I’ve been a part of in my lifetime (I’m 45), NOTHING has been as difficult, yet as deeply and intensely rewarding.

For my next blog I’ll cover the physical side of things, including midwifery care, physical movement, nutrition, supplements, essential oils, etc.  I hope and pray that something I’m sharing could help some momma (or supportive daddy) out there!

Please know this.  If you are building a little human, you are and will always be a rockstar! You’ve got this!!

Until next time,

Jen 🙂

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