An Olympian, an Opera Singer, and My Thirteenth Birth (Part 2)

My older kids knew it would happen, but we didn’t care. 🙂

The day we took a peek at our thirteenth little blessing, we also planned on seeing the new Wonder Woman movie.  As it turned out, we found a baby girl was on the way (our 9th girl!).  After loving the amazing performance of Gal Gadot on the big screen, we jokingly talked about naming the baby “Gal.” We were at the movie with our oldest daughter and her hubby and they thought it was a great idea! But we had several more waiting at home that night to convince, LOL. . .

Her name evolved into “Galilee Kate” (“Gal”for short, and Katie was my wonderful Grandma) so we could follow our pattern of a Bible name and a family name.  Yes, the rest of the tribe was right.  They told us we would be asked if we named her after Wonder Woman. 🙂

Well, yes, we did!

Shortly before our birth, my midwife posted the cartoon pictured above.  Wow.  I just loved it! And it fits the topic at hand just perfectly.  So without delay, let’s get started!.  If you haven’t read Part 1 of this blog, please go back and check it out.  Everything there (the Spiritual and Emotional stuff) technically needs to come before the rest of this conversation.

The physical stuff . . .

  1. MIDWIFERY CARE.  Welcome to one of my very favorite soapboxes, ever! I was blessed to cross paths with a friend who used a midwife back in the 90’s, just in time for the birth of our first baby.  When she mentioned her caregiver was a midwife, I immediately thought, what??? My goodness, what in the world?!! Obviously, my knowledge was limited, but I was motivated to know more because a) I trusted my friend’s recommendation, and b) my OB at the time seemed less than optimal, though I couldn’t at the time pinpoint exactly why.  After reading several books from our local library (yes, I actually used a card catalog back then!) I read in black and white how a midwife and home birth could actually be a safer and more “normal” option (i.e., less interventions).  Though there are many wonderful OB”s out there, there is most often a lack of encouragement from the allopathic establishment for truly momma-led, instinctual and natural childbirth.  And the stats speak for themselves; our nation is 24th in the world in infant mortality rates (23 other nations have fewer infant deaths) and this is with all kinds of technology at our fingertips.  Yes, trauma care is amazing and needed in high-risk cases of childbirth, but for low-risk mommas, the midwives in this country rock the stats like crazy! (My present midwife’s c-section rate in 2017 was 1.6%!) They are specialists in their low-risk field, and are phenols at knowing when they need high-risk help.  The midwives I’ve been blessed to have are literally extensions of our family.  They are loved and cherished people who have walked us through the most beautiful moments of our marriage. I cannot say more emphatically how special my birth experiences have been because of their standard of care.  Also take time to search the birth philosophies of other countries.  In Europe and the UK, midwives attend 70% of the births! My prayer is that the pendulum in this country will swing back toward the most natural and historically successful model of birth that the world has known for many centuries, and that’s a birth attended by a knowledgeable and caring midwife.  This point may need to be another blog!!
  2. NUTRITION.  Directly related to point #1, my first midwife (along with the rest of them) intensely motivated me to change the way I was nourishing my body.  That’s the beauty of a baby . . . we women are suddenly in the spot of thinking of someone else growing inside of us and depending on us.  And wow! I think back then my hubby wondered where his wife went after that first visit.  I’ll never forget it.  At the time, I was about 5 months pregnant. And I still thought Sonic was a food group.  Yes.  Dr. Pepper and corn dogs were two of my staples!  And the midwife sweetly told me that I needed 60-80 grams of protein a day, fruits and vegetables, limited sugar, and half my weight in ounces of water every single day. (I teasingly called her the Food Nazi for the duration of my pregnancy 🙂 )   Midwives know this affects birth outcomes and consequently are very attentive to diet.  So, that night after my first appointment we went to eat supper.  I ate a grilled chicken breast, rice and vegetables and drank water with lemon.  I thought Zo was going to pass out!!  Well, that was the beginning of my food journey.  And thirteen pregnancies later, I can say without a doubt that choosing nutrient-dense food has been a game-changer for me.  Even for my latest baby, being an older momma, the foundation that began with Hannah 23 years ago has blessed our babies and my health, big-time.  And keep in mind, I haven’t been perfect. Not even close.  I still treat myself, yet try to really hit the mark on the big things each and every day (and my list has evolved over the years as I continue to research and learn more).   Water, protein, fruits and vegetables, fermented foods, raw dairy, and healthy fats like butter, avocados, and coconut oil. . . all of this.   You’ll still see me get an occasional ice cream, chocolate almonds, or any of the other treats I love.  But bottom line: what you put in, you will get out.  Nutrition is paramount to building a human.  
  3. PHYSICAL MOVEMENT: I was walking around the high school track the night before my first baby was born.  She just turned 22. So I’ve always enjoyed staying active during pregnancy.  But I do try to balance gentle exercise with allowing my body a little grace as well.  I’ve done various things over the years, but recently with Galilee and the last few babies I’ve discovered a couple of things that I think have helped more than anything I’ve done previously.  I came across a lady named Katy Bowman, a biomechanist, who majors on teaching “movement” versus “exercise.”  You can check out her stuff, but to sum it up . . . I have made changes to what type of shoes I wear, I often go barefoot, our bed is on the floor, I try to walk several miles a day, and I sit on the floor lots and get up off the floor lots.  That may sound super weird, but trust me, these changes have made a huge difference in my alignment, back health, pelvic floor health, and general energy.  I can say unequivocally that my thirteenth pregnancy was my best “feeling” pregnancy yet, and I believe these things helped tremendously.  (Again, remember, still no perfection, just practice!)
  4. SUPPLEMENTS AND ESSENTIAL OILS:  Whoohoo! This is the best one yet! Since I have a stay-at-home momma job helping others learn about essential oils, I most definitely believe in their ability to transform our health (I can only recommend Young Living brand).  And pregnancy and birth are no exception.  A bit of my daily protocol looks like this: peppermint and orthoease topically in the morning after a bath, lemon in my water, progessence plus to support hormone health, wintergreen for muscle and bone support, digize for digestion and elimination, just to name a very few.  And supplements I consider to be critical center around minerals and daily energy levels: Ningxia Red (my hubby let me have ALL the NR this last pregnancy and it was AMAZING!! CAN YOU SAY ENERGY!?!), Sulfurzyme, Aminowise, Alkalime, Inner Defense . . . again, these are just a few.  EO’S have most definitely changed the health game in the past twenty years, and knowing they are actually no new thing and have been around since Bible times is very exciting and beneficial for pregnancy, birth, or for anything a family might need to stay above the wellness line.

    Galilee Kate, 1 week old Photo credit: Micah Dunford (@micahrphotography)




WHEW!! Hope you stayed with me! I didn’t mean to go on and on, but there’s just SO MUCH to say about building a human.  If you remember from my last post, please know again that I just want to say  “Momma, you’ve got this!!! Do your best, and enjoy every moment.  The time we spend on getting our babies here is so short in retrospect, and yet the blessings they give for the rest of our lives are without number.   Don’t be critical of yourself, you are the true Wonder Woman!!! Pray, speak words of life over yourself and your new one, and trust daily for every step of the journey.  Just like an Olympian or an opera singer, set your eyes “on the prize” up ahead.  I’ll be in the wings cheering for you! 🙂

Until next time,

Jen 🙂

#imjustamom #practicenotperfection

P.S. Here are some of my favorite things! I have used these resources and love them for all things “baby and belly, and beyond.”

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: A comprehensive encouragement for pregnant mommas written by the grandmother of all midwives with 30+ years of experience.

Trim Healthy Mama: A wonderful book of recipes and a plan for staying at a healthy weight during pregnancy (or not pregnant!).

Nourishing Traditions: A history of food and the nutrient dense choices of earlier generations and cultures. A phenomenal read, my kids love this book!

Gentle Babies: This is my favorite little essential oil Bible for pregnancy, birth and postpartum.  I have met the author and she knows her stuff!

Katy Bowman: This girl has some major brains and you’ll love her witty manner.  She has several books, a podcast and website. Start with Whole Body Barefoot.

Whole112: This is the spot you can find the oils and supplements I mentioned as well as get a wholesale account with Young Living and my team if you’d like.



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