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Amina Jane’s Birth Story

film by: Kalimana Film Stories
music by: Foreign Fields

May 31st, our baby girl’s due date, came and went and I knew I wanted to spend the last few days before she joined us relaxing and preparing for her arrival. I took lots of warm baths, visited my chiropractor, got acupuncture daily, and even managed to enjoy a few foot massages. Sunday, June 4th was my birthday and many made the comment that she would be the birthday present I’d never forget. Of course, it would be such a beautiful gift, but quietly I wanted us to have our own special days of the year. I also knew deep down that we would meet her on June 6th. Many months before she was born, a voice woke me up and in a dream state I heard the day “June 6th”. I clung loosely to this as her birth date, but didn’t want to be too attached in case she decided on a different day. On the night of my birthday, I began having regular Braxton Hicks while out celebrating with friends. I stayed out late and enjoyed spending time with friends before baby girl arrived. I told one of my close friends I was having Braxton Hicks and had her feel the firmness of my belly during a tightening. The Braxton Hicks continued the following day and I lost part of my mucous plug that morning. I went to lunch with my sister-in-law and commented on the regularity of the tightenings. We met up with Mike and went for a long walk after lunch. Of course, we had to stop for ice cream on the way back, mint chocolate chip coconut milk ice cream to be exact, which was one of my biggest cravings in the last trimester. After that, I decided to head home and began making dinner. I noticed the Braxton Hicks were getting stronger and felt more like period cramps. I started getting excited, but also knew I could still have a long journey ahead. Mike got home from work and I told him I thought I might be in early labor. He looked at me with wide eyes and said “Well, what do we do now?”. I told him we’d just continue our night as usual until the contractions grabbed my full attention. We ate dinner and I made some laboraid have on hand to keep me hydrated for what was to come. I gave my doula, midwife, and birth videographer a heads up that I thought I was in early labor. We watched Bridesmaids in bed and then tried to get some rest. With a hot water bottle on my belly, I was able to sleep through most of the cramps, waking occasionally until around 2:00am. At this point, a bath sounded nice so I drew one and got in. A little later Mike began timing my contractions. They were coming every 2-3 minutes, lasting for about a minute. We did this until 3:30am and decided to call the midwife. She encouraged us to come in to the birth center.  We gathered our things and started heading towards the birth center. Mike turned on the birth playlist and we made the foggy trek.

We arrived around 4:15am and our midwife, Margaret, was waiting for us. I laid back on the bed for her to check my dilation. In an encouraging tone she said, “Your body has done the hard work of thinning out your cervix”. I looked her in the eyes noticing she didn’t tell me my dilation so I asked and she let me know I was only 2 centimeters dilated. This meant I wasn’t in active labor, which was disappointing since my contractions were so close together and feeling fairly intense. I had two options: to go labor back home until things picked up or labor at the birth center for a few hours and reassess my progress before officially admitting me. Because of the intensity of the contractions, I felt things could move quickly, so we decided to stay at the birth center. Margaret dimmed the lights and suggested a shower. I got in and closed my eyes, swaying and visualizing my cervix opening and bringing our baby girl down. Mike sprayed water on my lower abdomen, which is where I was feeling the most pressure, almost a pinching sensation. After a while, I toweled off and we walked the quiet halls of the birth center. We moved out to the patio, where we paced back and forth and watched the most beautiful foggy sunrise.

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As the intensity of the contractions became stronger, I requested to get in the tub. Around 6:00am, Margaret checked my dilation to see if I could officially be admitted and I was 6 centimeters with a bulging bag of waters. I started laughing with excitement. Margaret drew a bath and I labored in the tub for about 90 minutes, leaning back on my doula, Amy, and Mike for support. They took turns caressing my head, bringing me food and water, and placing cool rags on my forehead. I hadn’t decided if I wanted a water birth or not and was open to the idea, but I got too hot and wanted to try something different. As I stood up to get out of the tub, my friend and nurse, Heather, arrived and I hugged her, crying tears of relief to see her sweet face. I moved over to the Swedish bars to do side lunges and then tried leaning over the peanut ball on the bed. Just as I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of the contractions, a beautiful song by the band that inspired our daughter’s name began playing. I started crying thinking about meeting our baby girl, which felt like such a great release. Shortly after that, just a little before 9:00am, I started grunting during contractions and spontaneously bearing down. There was just a lip of cervix left and my bag of waters still bulging. Margaret said she could break my water if I wanted or we could wait for it to spontaneously rupture. In the moment, I felt like breaking the water bag would really relieve some of the pressure I was feeling so I had her do it. With a massive gush, her head descended quickly and I began actively pushing with the pressure I was feeling. Our baby girl wasn’t tolerating the pushing very well and her heart rate began dipping. Margaret gave me some oxygen and had me lie on my left side to help bring her heart rate up. During the next contraction, I tried squatting at the Swedish bars to see if that would give her some more room, but her heart rate continued to dip. I moved back to the bed and because her heart rate wasn’t recovering in between contractions, the decision was made to transfer to the hospital via ambulance. Margaret looked me in the eye and reassured me that she would stay with us every step of the way. At this point, I knew the best thing for me to do was to try and stay calm for our sweet girl so I closed my eyes and began taking deep breaths through the oxygen mask. Mike was holding my hand and my doula was whispering prayers of encouragement in my ear. During all of this, my body was still spontaneously bearing down and baby girl began crowning with the next contraction. EMS arrived with the stretcher ready for transport. Margaret looked at the paramedic and said, “Give her one more push!” We locked eyes and she encouraged me to push my baby out with all my might. I pushed harder than I had ever pushed before (breaking all the tiny blood vessels in my face and neck!) and focused on bringing her out and safe into my arms. By the grace of God, at 9:34am, Amina Jane was born and placed onto my chest. She began crying immediately and we were all so relieved she was ok! Mike and I were both crying, feeling so grateful for how strong Amina was through it all. After some skin-to-skin time, Amina latched and nursed for about an hour. Our doula brought us breakfast and then we dimmed the lights and settled in to rest as a new family of 3.

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Spring Nourish Bowl

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Nourish bowls are one of my favorite ways to create a quick, easy meal with seasonal produce. All you need is a carbohydrate, veggies, protein, and a good sauce or dressing and you have yourself a deliciously satisfying meal!

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This week I created a nourish bowl with produce from Green BEAN delivery, an online grocery service that delivers fresh, local, and organic produce and grocery items straight to your door. It’s like a customizable CSA! You choose your produce bin based upon your family size and then you can choose from over 1,000 grocery items, including high quality meats, eggs, dairy, and freshly baked breads to add to your delivery.  Your delivery comes in an insulated bin to keep all of your food fresh, which is reused, minimizing waste (win!).  Green BEAN delivery’s mission is to help mend the broken components of our nation’s food systems. They are a family owned company that partners with local farmers and artisans to bring quality food straight to you. Green BEAN is focused on sustainability and has donated over 380+ tons of of food to local food rescues!

I have partnered with Green BEAN delivery to give away TWO $25 gift cards so you can try it for yourself! Visit my instagram page to enter! You can also use the code “BLOOMNOURISH” to get 15% off your first 3 deliveries!

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Spring Nourish Bowl
serves 4

Ingredients:

Rice:
1 cup rice
2 cups bone broth or water

Dressing:
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 thai chilies, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp coconut aminos or tamari
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil

Vegetables:
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and sliced into thin strips
8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed and strings removed
2 bunches radishes, save 2 radishes for topping and quarter the rest

Top With:
Poached Egg
Cilantro
Mint
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Spring Onions
Radishes, thinly sliced
Kimchi (optional)

Directions:
Heat oven to 400°F.

Cook rice according to instructions. Set aside.

While rice is cooking, combine all dressing ingredients into a small, lidded jar and shake until emulsified. Place vegetables on a roasting pan and coat with dressing. Bake for about 20 minutes or until kale is crispy and the peas and radishes are tender.

Assemble the bowl: Add rice into a large bowl. Layer in the roasted vegetables, followed by the toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

 

GIVEAWAY: Modern Arks Kids

Modern Co-Sleeper | Modern Arks + Bloom & Nourish #giveawayModern Rocking Boat | Modern Arks + Bloom & Nourish #giveaway

Jamie Bennett of Modern Arks is a man of many talents. His beautiful handiwork has a mid-century modern feel with a southern twist.  Each piece is carefully thought out and handcrafted just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Jamie and his family have a special place in my heart, as I have had the privilege of supporting them as their doula through the birth of both of their children.  During their last pregnancy, we were all discussing the need for an aesthetically pleasing co-sleeper, and in Jamie-like fashion, he took on the project and built one.  Out of that came Modern Arks Kids: minimal and modern designs just for kids. To celebrate the launch of his new shop, we are giving away one of the beautiful, new designs. If you are a new or expecting momma you could win this Minimalist Co-Sleeper Bassinet (which also turns into a toddler desk!) or if your kiddos are a bit older, you could snag the Modern Rocking Boat. One lucky winner will get their choice of one of the two new Modern Arks Kids pieces (valued up to $299)!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY.  The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Tuesday, June 2nd.

UPDATE: Congratulations Jenn–you have been randomly selected as our winner! Check your inbox for details. Thank you to all who entered! Continue reading

How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally | Bloom & NourishDuring cold and flu season, or really anytime of the year, there are certain foods, supplements, and natural remedies that can help give your immune system the boost it needs to build a strong foundation for the future.  This means you will get sick less frequently, and if you do get sick, your body should be able to better fight whatever virus invaded your system and recover more quickly. Continue reading

Immune Boosting Pink Lemonade Smoothie

Immune Boosting Pink Lemonade Smoothie | Bloom & NourishAs the cold weather is upon us now here in Nashville, I’ve been thinking of ways to boost my  immune system, as it tends to be compromised more during this season.  So I created this refreshing immune boosting smoothie!  However, you can drink this smoothie any time of the year, even while trying to strengthen your immune system during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

It’s actually smoothie month at Williams-Sonoma and this week’s theme was “Not Your Average Smoothie” so I thought turning a smoothie into something that boosts your immune system and wards off colds would be a good place to start.  It’s a nice tart smoothie with an optional kick that reminds me of the green lemonade juices I’ve been drinking, but instead it’s beautifully pink from the bright red raspberries.

Immune Boosting Pink Lemonade Smoothie | Bloom & Nourish

Here’s what I threw into my blender + why it’s good for you:

  • Greens: Greens like kale, collard, swiss chard, and spinach are nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, that strengthen your immune system and ward off colds.
  • Orange/Tangerine: Oranges are full of vitamins A + C which help promote production of white blood cells to fight off any foreign invaders, and folate which you need for healthy cell growth. Those looking to get pregnant or are already pregnant will benefit from including folate into their diet as it essential for healthy development of the baby in the mother’s womb, particularly the formation of the neural tube.
  • Lemons and berries: Both are rich in vitamin C and immune boosting antioxidants.
  • Ginger: Ginger is a strong antioxidant that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Turmeric + Cayenne (optional): Both turmeric and cayenne are very nutrient dense spices, which support your immune system through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Continue reading

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (Zupa Toscana) | Bloom & NourishSausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (Zupa Toscana) | Bloom & NourishFall is now upon us and I thought it fitting to share a recipe for a hearty soup.  Last night my husband said he was craving a savory soup called Zuppa Toscana he used to eat at a chain restaurant called Olive Garden.  While I have never had the soup myself, I did some researching and was determined to come up with a healthy version of this nostalgic stew to nourish and fill our bellies.  Watching my husband fill his bowl with seconds leads me to believe I did something right.

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (Zupa Toscana) | Bloom & NourishSausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (Zupa Toscana) | Bloom & Nourish Continue reading

Green Monkey Lactation Smoothie

green monkey lactation smoothie | bloom & nourishSome of you know, but others may not realize that along with loving good food, I am also a birth doula and a holistic health counselor, focused on supporting women during the childbearing years.  For a few years now, I have been passionate about helping mamas and mamas-to-be, ensuring they are getting the education and support they need while pregnant, breastfeeding, or prepping for pregnancy.  I feel it an honor to work with women and their families during such an intimate and beautiful time of their lives.  So if you see a little bit more of a focus towards pregnancy, and the like, that is why.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be posting delicious recipes for everyone, but some may have a bit more of a focus towards nourishing nutrients for mama and baby.  If you have any questions, or are interested in how I can support you, as a mama or mama-to-be, feel free to shoot me a message!

green monkey lactation smoothie | bloom & nourish

What mom doesn’t need a little more energy after having a baby?  This smoothie is an easy and delicious way to boost your energy, as well as your breastmilk supply.  Essential fatty acids, such as coconut oil and nuts, and foods high in omega 3, like flax seeds, increase your energy and milk supply.  Spinach, high in phytoestrogens, promotes healthy breast tissue and lactation, and this smoothie is an easy way of incorporating those greens into your daily routine.  Did you know healthy fats, like coconut oil, have some of the highest concentrations of energy out of all nutrients?  Fat is also essential for hormone production, which will help your body produce a fattier, more nutritious breastmilk for baby.  Drink up! It’s delicious way to start your day, whether you are lactating or not. Continue reading