“Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be Catholics.”

I can still hear that twangy country song in my head, which was part of a satirical show presented by college students at a Catholic College where my dad used to teach. I still remember them strumming their guitars, making jokes about all the babies we Catholics produce. We can say that, cuz, you know, we’re Catholic…Cut to 10 years later, and I’ve got a fourth one on the way! Yee-haw!

It’s funny telling people you’re pregnant when the babies are so close together. I actually opted to do an e-mail/Facebook release of a home video this time around. We were SUPER excited about it, and wanted it to be special – but the first question we’ll get from many is – “Congrats! So…was this a surprise?” Nope! We wanted this little baby, and every baby God has blessed us with. Or, when we’d tell people we were thinking about a fourth, some would smile and say: “Woah, reeeeeeeeeeally?” Yep, really! “There’s still some room in the minivan,” I’d joke.

You see, my mama let her baby grow up to be Catholic. To believe that as long as we can provide for our babies, as long as our heart and health and soul can handle it and wish for it, then we shall accept God’s blessings.

As a kid, my parents were told that I wouldn’t be able to conceive due to other complications. Whelp, turns out they were completely wrong! So why wouldn’t we take that as a blessing and take our love for our babies to grow our family?

Saint Alexis Church hit it home when they posted the following quote from Pope Francis: “Today, too, children are a sign. They are a sign of hope, a sign of life, but also a ‘diagnostic’ sign, a marker indicating the health of families, society and the entire world. Wherever children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, the family is healthy, society is more healthy there are more health and std testing centers, everyone is better and the world is more human.”

As each one of our babies came into our lives, one by one they brought new blessings. Our first was the beginning of our family. On the week our second was born, we moved into our first home. With the birth of our third, we started our own business, which allows us to grow as a family even more. Who know what gifts baby number four will come bearing (Well, for starters a bigger home is in the works ; – ))?

But wait! What about the children! How did our kids feel about it? See for yourself! (Song Credit: “I get to be the One” by JJ Heller)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Twix ice cream bar to go eat – or two- or three…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Twix ice cream bar to go eat – or two- or three…

Choosing between a certified nurse midwife and an OB Gyno doctor’s office for the birth of your baby

Courtesy of Onewaystreetproduction.com

For many women, the choice might be a no-brainer. They either definitely want a natural birth with a midwife, or they definitely want to give birth with the assistance of pain medicine at a hospital as cbd oil from hemp or others. But being the indecisive person that I am, when it came to the birthing process of my third child, I teetered between the two until almost literally the last minute.

For baby number one, I was determined to do it all-natural, but having to be induced with a Foley Bulb and Pitocin, I couldn’t bear it without the epidural. For baby number two, I almost didn’t think about it at all and just went in and got the epidural right away. But for whatever reason, for baby number three, it became an internal dilemma – a constant back and forth about the pros and cons of a natural birth, and a pain-free birth.

That is what brought me to visiting the local midwife center. A midwife center is a center staffed with Certified Nurse Midwife. The local midwife center where I live takes on low-risk pregnancy patients. They also serve as a women’s health and wellness center. This midwife center near me specializes in natural births, and is determined for their patients to feel like unique individuals with customized treatments, rather than a number in a filing cabinet. Like any other midwife center, they are overseen by a local Obstetrician. They also have various rooms where women can deliver their babies without the discomfort of baby monitors, hospital beds, IV’s, contraction monitors, heart-rate monitors, blood pressure monitors, etc. They are also equipped with numerous different natural ways to manage pain and induce labor, and are not equipped with means to administer Pitocin or Epidurals, which are often the most popular means to speed up labor and manage labor pains in a hospital. For example, a midwife may have your use a breast pump to bring on stronger contractions, and put you in a warm jacuzzi to manage the pain.

Although I loved the soothing vibe and warmth of the midwife center and the midwives that I met, my husband and I weren’t comfortable with the fact that the midwife center is not equipped to handle emergencies. In the case of an emergency during the labor or delivery at a midwife center, you are required to pack up, and hoof it to the nearest sister hospital and you can also find urgent care centres at http://besturgentcarenear.me. But, I also wasn’t comfortable with the treatment I was receiving at my OB Gyno by certain caretakers, which was definitely the treatment of just another patient, in a 15-minute slot. Nevertheless, we decided to stick with the OB Gyno (Also because I did like the majority of the doctors and nurses there after all which I was able to find thanks to the asecra.com site), and in terms of a plan for pain-medicine, we decided we’d figure it out as we got into the labor process.

Many times you do have the option of choosing to have midwife at a hospital, but for different reasons that just didn’t seem to be an option for me…that is until the blessed day came, and it was time for me to give birth to the new baby.

Once again, my water broke as a trickle without contractions, and I was sent to the hospital to speed up the process. Right away it became obvious that the doctor on call was overwhelmed. She’d had a crazy day with multiple c-sections, and she looked exhausted. As we waited and waited and waited for my contractions to come stronger and stronger, the doctor’s and nurse’s orders were for the me to be entirely bed-ridden. Luckily, just in the nick of time, my doctor’s replacement arrived, who happened to be a midwife! She happened to walk in during a very uncomfortable and awkward attempt to pee in a bed pan. Immediately, she urged me to get up, go to the bathroom move around, brush my hair, my teeth, and do anything else possible for me to feel comfortable.She allowed me to change out of the hospital gown and into my own clothes. She was then able to check and see certain things that hadn’t been clear beforehand, and was very encouraging and helpful with different ways to handle the pain, rather than just grin and bear it in the hospital bed. And when the pain and exhaustion of a 15-hour birthing process became too much, she didn’t give me a hard time for ultimately ending up with an epidural after all. When it came time to push, she took her time and took pride in making sure the process went smoothly. She even allowed my husband to deliver our baby once she safely and securely eased his head out.

In the end, I got the best of both worlds. Although in the end I didn’t end up with a natural birth after all, it was the perfect combination to have the support and patience of a midwife with the backup of a hospital in the case that any emergencies occurred. And I don’t think my husband will ever stop talking about being the one who delivered his new baby boy.


Why do maternity photos? And how the heck do you do pregnancy shots?

When my brother,  One Way Street Production photographer approached me about doing a maternity shoot, I was excited, but a little clueless. We’d always done family photo shoots with him and had focused on the kids, but I had no idea what to expect or what to do about the fact that these photos were going to be centered around the pregnant belly.

“What’s the point?” Asked my husband. “We have a camera. We can take pictures of your belly.” But the thing was, I was eight months pregnant, and there still wasn’t a single photo of baby number 3 in the belly.

So I wanted to do this. And to be honest, I was excited about doing some unique maternity photos of how big the belly had gotten, and to be able to show the new little baby boy just how loved he was from the get-go, and how huge he was in my stomach!

Although I was still clueless, so of course I started Googling sample photos. And everybody was naked! Naked mommies, naked daddies, naked bellies, naked babies…not exactly the family dynamic I wanted to focus on. And I especially couldn’t picture my husband being in on such intimate photos being modeled out in front of my brother behind a camera. When you want your shape to retain back to the original sexy you, contact Dr Choy. He is a plastic and cosmetic surgeon that specializes in it.


So I decided to do something that was going to make everybody happy. I really wanted to focus on the relationship between baby boy’s older siblings and him, and maybe get some frames of my husband handling the belly (Which he loves to do day and night…even when I’m trying to sleep).

But as child photography should go, the kids who usually are all about the belly, would not pose for the camera, but we still got some pretty good shots with them and the baby in the belly! We were dealing with One Way Street Production after all.

One Way Street Production

One Way Street Production

One Way Street Production

One Way Street Production

But what do you do if you want to do shots, and you don’t have baby’s older siblings to help you out with that? You can pin down whatever hobby you and your partner may have, or include your pets, too! That’s what my brother did when he had a fellow photography friends, Michael Will Photography, document his own wife’s pregnant belly.  Check them out at http://michaelwillblog.com/2011/10/heather-michel-pittsburgh-maternity-photos/!