NOT a basketball, this is #5

NOT a basketball, this is #5

I really thought this day would never come.

I was positive that after number five, Atlas (right), we were DONE having kids.

The nausea. The hormones. The discomfort. The sleepless nights. The back pain. The labor. Ugh.

As much as I love my kids, I was not going to do it again.

At least that's what thought.

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But I believe there's a Higher Power (I personally call Him God). And He often has different plans then I have for myself. This was one of them. So after 2 1/2 years I finally, reluctantly agreed to it.

IMG_9248And then I got really excited! Cute little fingers and toes. Baby clothes. Adorable little people who bring so much joy. How fun to have another one!

And then I got pregnant. And then I got sick. And now I'm wondering what in the world I have done to myself. How could I purposely inflict so much personal suffering? Why am I going through this again?

And then I imagined that she (yes, I think it's a girl) came and laid by me while I was nauseated and miserable in bed, and said, "Thanks mom for making me," and that made me feel a little better.

But the decision has been made and there is no going back, only moving forward. I know as soon as I feel well again, I'll be excited once more. 😉

But here's what this news means for now:

  • I'll be 'signing off' from blogging (but not for good, so don't go anywhere!) At least until I pass the first trimester and start feeling better, it may be a little quiet around here. As much as I wanted to write about education and homesteading, it's going to have to wait. Besides eating and drinking, I don't want any other 'obligations' weighing on me. 🙂
  • She'll be born in February, most likely in Guatemala (unless we decide to go to Costa Rica or something crazy like that), but exactly where I'm still not sure. As it gets closer I'll share more.
  • When I come back to blogging, I plan on making some changes to the site. While it is about family travel, it's also about a lot more than that.

How can you bring more children into this world?

To some people, having another child (even if it's your sixth) is very natural.

To others, they question the sanity. How can you bring a child into this world, with the violence, pollution, disease, etc. etc.? You're just adding to the problem by having more, especially a sixth.

But I ask, "How can we solve the world's problems unless we (those who think and care about humanity) have children and teach them to be good, decent, conscious human beings? If we leave the baby-making to the uneducated masses, then how will that fix things? In generations to come, all those concerned with the world's welfare will have died off, and only those who created offspring and then gave them to the government to raise will be left. What hope will the world have then?

If we care about how the world turns out, then we need to take charge of CREATING and raising the next generations."

Having (and adopting) children is my personal contribution to making the world a better place.

A word about giving birth

You would think by now, this being my fifth birth, that it would be 'old hat'. (Fifth birth because my oldest was adopted.)

All of my natural children were born... uh, naturally. They were born at home or at a birthing center, and in the water. Since before I first became pregnant (before I adopted our first child), I studied books on natural birth like Childbirth Without Fear by Grantley Reed and many others.

But despite my desire that each birth would be easier, simpler and more 'pain-free', they've actually been more difficult (Atlas' being the worst!) His was so challenging, that it became the major reason for not wanting to have any more children.

So essentially, I'm afraid to give birth, so this will be a very interesting 'journey' for me as I decide how I'm going to do it. Will I have the courage to go natural again? Or will I overcome my trepidation of hospitals and 'interference' from medical personnel and get an epidural?

(You can also read about Getting an Ultrasound in Guatemala, and We're Having a...)

What would you do? What should I do?



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52 Responses

  1. Kristin V Elliott

    Congratulations Rachel.  Having had my 3 at home…I get the questions.  I say why not?  God built me to handle it and I am going to see what I am made of.
    Most empowering thing I ever did. Thrilled for you.

    • RachelDenning

      @Kristin V Elliott Yep, you are right, it is very empowering. I don’t regret having any of them at home… I agree God created us to do it, but I don’t know if I WANT to do the pain again. We’ll see…

  2. Kathleen

    Oh my congratulations!!!! What an exciting time! Glad to hear you will be putting blogging on hold to take care of yourself!  🙂

  3. almostfearless

    I would get the epidural! I was so set on natural birth, but when I had a c-section I ended up doing a ton of research on the effects of epidurals and the most common studies about the “dangers” are based on old medicine. They’ve drastically changed the dosage so your baby doesn’t get drugged. It’s worth looking into. I would love to give a natural birth and while the epidural I had for my 2 cs wasn’t fun, it was over in like 10 minutes. Knowing what I know now, I am so pro-epidural because the very most recent studies show it doesn’t slow labor (although it used to on the old dosage) and it doesn’t harm the baby. Go for it!

    You’ll know what’s best for you, but that’s just my two cents! The first trimester is the WORST!!!! Hang in there. I hate it. It’s really bad. But just imagine the sweet new baby you’ll have, that’s so worth it. Hugs to you!!!

  4. Laure

    Congratulations Rachel!
    For the good news of pregnancy, for living your own life and letting your children live theirs ! For my second birth I tried unassisted, and I totally loved it. I had read Laura Shanley, IM Gaskin & Dick-Read too, and actually I had to give up the ideal painless labour, but being all alone in the dark (husband sleeping in the other room) was mostly fun and anyway really short: 3 hours all in all.
    Wishing you the best time possible!

    • RachelDenning

      @Laure Thank you! I did consider unassisted last time (with Atlas), but was glad in the end (after 30 hours and the cord wrapped around his neck) that I was at a birthing center. Three hours sounds heavenly. I’ve never had a labor that short!

  5. LaptopLifeLisa

    Get the epidural!!  Have an amazingly, clear, pain-free memory of the magical experience of birth.  Congratulations Rachel – so happy for you guys!

  6. TravelwitBender

    Congratulations guys. I had an epidural and I am all for them, especially if the last one was so hard. I don’t think it makes you any less or more of a woman having a baby naturally. The importance is the safety of mum and baby and if you can achieve it with a little help, then go for it. So happy for you guys, good luck with the choice.

  7. MelanieMurrish

    Oh wow, I am sooo happy for you all and a teeny weeny bit jealous!

  8. GwenHulsegge

    Wow, congratulations Rachel and Greg! No wonder you needed a homestead 🙂 I drew the line at number 3 because he was the most natural birth I had and I felt so tired (39) in the whole deal that I didn’t want my body to go through it again. The other 2 were born in the hospital and though I didn’t agree with many things, like inscenting the birth, they at least were born during the day which made it much easier to bare. Can’t tell you what’s good for you, just to go check out the hospitals and have a look for yourself. In the end you and your body are wise and will decide what’s best.

  9. Danielle

    Having an epidural isn’t failing! You are still giving life to a beautiful new person. I went to a Nurse Mid-wife and delivered in a hospital with an epidural and it was beautiful. I remember being able to feel her head and shoulders as I delivered my little sweet heart. It was an amazing experience I couldn’t have had any other way. Congrats on your new bundle! And you are doing an awesome work raising your little ones and being willing to have more.

    • RachelDenning

      @Danielle Thank you for that. You’re right. No matter how it happens, I’m creating a new life and that’s a miracle 🙂

  10. mytreasuredcreations

    I am so excited for you. You are such a brave woman and such an inspiration. I think like you unless we have children to continue to positively influence the world how can we expect that it will become better. I also believe that people is the only “thing” that we take to Heaven. They are the treasures we accumulate in Heaven.
    After 4 kids, I am also fearful of birth. I had 2 at the hospital (hated the experience. Like you I hate the interventions) and 2 at home naturally but not so “nirvana” as one would have wished for. However, I know of so many women that have complicated pregnancies and births but they will not put down their calling to have children.
    Life led by God is such an exciting journey. I will be praying for you and cheering on the sidelines. Can’t wait to hear the next updates. 🙂 All the best.

  11. vagabondgene

    Rachel, this is so exciting! I am happy for you guys. You are fabulous parents. I understand the fear of childbirth though. I had an awful experience with having Jonah and was afraid to get pregnant again but Ezra was actually the easiest birth of my children. I hope you have the same experience after a hard childbirth. FYI: The link to reading this specific blog doesn’t work. It sends me to the wrong blog entry. I had to wait for a pop-up to “recommend” reading this blog in order to finally access it.

  12. Leslie

    Everyone is different but I  suggest hypnobirthing, yoga helps me amazingly with anxiety. pranayama excersises, there is this medicine called ayahuasca that the indians in Peru have used to aid birth giving experiences, also this church called “the santo daime” use it to help laboring women. I read experiences online of mamas using the tea. Maybe a change in your eating habits could ease the discomfort (basically just tunning to your body and listening to it, I’ve read of frutarian mamas to be,raw eatersandthey saythathelped them with an easy pregnancy, findwhat suits you) A retreat for yourself if possible can also help you to tune in and find the bliss of this experience. Homeopathy, and a chiroprator can be agreat help during and before labor. THere arelots ofwomen sharing their experiences like you and lotsof great info out there. Hope this helps no matter what you chose, I’m sure it will be  the right thing for you and your baby.

    • RachelDenning

      @Leslie Thanks Leslie! I am definitely trying to be more int tune with myself. I know one thing I definitely need more of is exercise!

  13. TobieSpears

    CONGRATULATIONS! I am so excited for your family!  As a doula I’m lucky enough to spend long hours with women as they labor and give birth.  Unmedicated birth is a powerful way of bringing children into this world.  When women know there are less painful ways, I am always amazed that these ‘warrior’ women choose to feel their births.  When we were in Guate we meet several kind and amazing local midwives.  You are surrounded by powerful knowledge.  You will make the best decision for you and this little creation.  Our thoughts are with you,

  14. Claudia

    I have no children, so I can’t really talk, but please be weary, many mothers told me that, since the epidural takes away only labour pains but not the actual delivery pains, the shock of the body and mind when it wears off and the childbirth actually begins is much harder than the whole natural process, 100% felt.
    I don’t want to dig in issues that may be personal here, but some ancient childbirth traditions link great pains to a subconscious resistance of the mother. It takes a lot of self-analysis and courage to be honest with oneself, but, once the mum accepts and faces whatever comes from within her, without ignoring or hiding anything, it’s an amazing chance for growth for both her and the baby. 🙂
    Hope this helps, Rachel! I wish you an amazing journey, both in the World and within yourself!

    • RachelDenning

      @Claudia Thank you Claudia. I do believe you are right in many aspects. It’s part of the reason I chose natural birth in the first place. We’ll see what happens, but I’ve found that just giving myself permission to get an epidural if I want is making it easier for me to consider going natural again… we’ll see. 🙂

  15. Jessica Day

    I would lean on Lucy and Greg even more!  Sure, Lucy has 4 of her own and will be busy with all that she does but I know she will be your biggest asset!  Congrats to you two.  I have one child and lived across the street from Lucy here in Highland Utah.  I cannot give you any advice just a few prayers coming your way and in a hurry because it seems you may need them!  Hugs to you all.
      Jessica Day

  16. Tiare

    Much aloha to your family during this extra special time. One more and you’ll have enough for a soccer team, which would be entirely awesome. 
    In the meantime, I hope you’re feeling better soon. Yes, you’re feeling sick for the best reason, but you’re still sick. Ugh. Good thing it’s not your first time to the rodeo, so you can probably buck with the best of them. Sending healthy mommy and baby vibes!

  17. Karen

    I can say, from experience, they don’t necessarily get easier nor harder.  Mine have all been jumbled up, such a variety.  Don’t fear what hasn’t even come about!
    You’ll receive peace and instinctually know what is best for you and the baby when the time arrives.  Go with it, knowing you are free to choose accordingly, and none of it is wrong (epidural/natural/whatever).
    Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

  18. Amber Linthakhan

    just found your website and this is the first post i read…mommas are fierce and brave and you’ll receive the direction you’re supposed to take in due time 🙂 i’ve known mommas who have had traumatic birth and c-sections and go onto to have beautiful seamless births. as a fellow homebirther…i hope the fear will fade, but i hope more that you will do what you feel is best for you and yours. I look forward to digging into your writings as we are headed down to mexico and hopefully into central america in a few months. two kids + one car + armed with 1 tent!!

  19. Grace Ota Engel

    Super excited for you guys! You are so awesome. I love your work and super excited to get more posts when you are ready. Enjoy this time Rachel :).

  20. Heather

    Since you asked 😉 I had five natural births (no pain meds), with my 5th being the hardest. After my 4th baby I begged God to let me be done. After my 5th there was just no question- I was done. Then, like you, I had a spiritual experience that led me to become pregnant with my 6th. For his birth I used Hypnobabies and it made ALL the difference in the world! I can’t say that enough. My 6th labor was the easiest of them all, by far. Beautiful. Try Hypnobabies!

  21. rockymtnfamily

    Congratulations on your pregnancy.  My wife and I know a doctor in Solola and he allowed me to stay the night in his birthing room during one trip to that area.  I hope all goes well with your pregnancy and that it is as stress free as possible for you!  Sending love and prayers your way!
    The Wights

  22. GabrieleBeland

    Rachel, you promote living deliberately…. choosing yourself and what you want, soooooooo do the same with this pregnancy and birth. I know it may sound ohhh so nice to read but harder to integrate into reality. But essentially it isnt. 
    I love the fact that you are so real and share your human weaknesses, which we all carry inside, but fear is from the mind. Set your environment to support your vision and nurture that space in your self that is peaceful and knowing. 
    Have faith. you know what is best. You are the best mother to this child in your womb. Work as a team from the get-go..

  23. RachelDenning

    GabrieleBeland So beautifully written… thank you for sharing and for your encouragement. I’m not having the same fears regarding labor as I did when I first got pregnant. I’m excited to meet this little girl, and trust that the birth will be beautiful! Thanks again!!

  24. JulieCampbell

    I too have six. Gave birth to little Liam in March 2013 (VBAC with doula).  I love Ina May Gaskins books and also a book called Birthing From Within which I read after the rather traumatic, but incredible birth of our fourth (stage two abruption, 38 inch cord wrapped around chest, neck, and arm, etc.). Our fifth turned out to be an unforeseen emergency c-section (she had an 8 inch cord, wrapped around her neck.)  I am happy for you and God’s plan for your family!  My advice–trust your body, listen to your soul, and go forward in faith.  If the time comes or the feeling to reach out for help in labor–heed the prompting.  I’ve had hypnobirhing babies (wonderfully natural and empowering) and a surgical birth that brought us a beautiful, stubborn, strong little girl.  Be at peace and follow your instincts–God gave us those feelings to guide us.  Now I’m rambling…Enjoyed reading about your family’s journey.

  25. RachelDenning

    JulieCampbell Thanks so much! I am continuing to trust in my body and in the process, and feeling more peaceful and confident about this birth… even though we’re still not sure WHERE it’s going to happen 🙂

  26. hennaLisa

    I gotta give another plug for hypnobirthing. I used the Mongan method, but I can’t say I was a perfect student or anything. I’m not all that physically fit, and am a big wimp when it comes to anything that might be considered physical labor, and even more of a wimp with pain. I’d feared childbirth my whole life, to the point of planning to never get pregnant. Anyway, the hypnobirthing concept completely changed my beliefs deep down in the core of my being, which in turn changed my reality. I’ve had two unbelievably lovely “easy” births. It’s not too late to check it out. I also watched some youtube videos of hypnobirths and read stories at the Mongan method website to help rewrite my beliefs about what birth is like. Whether we like it or not, our reality is a product of the cultural beliefs that we’ve grown up with. You can ready my daughter’s birth story here.

  27. RachelDenning

    hennaLisa  Thank you for sharing. I did do a Hypnobirthing class with my second or third birth, and really enjoyed it and learned a ton!


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