Sunday, May 5, 2013

Little Bottoms Newborn Diaper Review

When expecting Baby Gummy Bears, a lovely WAHM who owns Little Bottoms, a cloth diaper and accessories boutique on Etsy, asked me if I would like to do a review of her OBV Newborn diaper. I happily obliged.
Little Bottoms is a Canada-based WAHM business. She specializes in cloth diapers, cloth diapering needs such as various types of inserts, and handmade baby clothes.
When that package arrived postmarked from Canada, I knew that the squishy newborn goodness had arrived! I was delighted to find the most velvety soft Newborn diaper made of organic bamboo velour, with lovely snap-down adjustments in various shades of green. Inside this little diaper was a lay-in double insert, which was comprised of two separate inserts that were each made of multiple layers of OBV and sewn together at the top for easy washing and placement.

Brand new Little Bottoms obv fitted, in different views.

I could not wait to try it out! I prepped this little diaper and added it to my newborn stash where it sat for a few months waiting for my little bundle to bake in my belly.

When Gummy finally arrived, this Little Bottoms diaper was one of the first which I tried out! From day one, this diaper fit my baby like a glove. When her legs were tiny and new, I found that there was enough room and adjustment options in this diaper that allowed me to diaper her comfortably, but snugly enough to contain those messy EBF newborn poops. It also turned out that Gummy is a VERY heavy wetter, and to this day, the Little Bottoms fitted is one of my top-3 go-to diapers for night-time and outings, when I know I'll need some serious absorbency. And yes, I did say "to this day". Awesomely enough, 3 and a half months later, while the majority of my newborn stash is already put away in storage, we are still using our Little Bottoms diaper. There is enough adjustment and stretch to that diaper that even as a super healthy, 97 percentile, 15 pound little chub, she is still able to very comfortably wear this diaper on the largest setting. Not only that, but after 15 and a half weeks of continuous, every other day washings and re-wearing, this diaper is still velvety soft, comparable to the day we first took it out of the package it arrived in, with absolutely no visible signs of wear or tear. There are many name brand fitteds I bought that I can't even say that about!

After 8 weeks of continuous use.

After nearly 16 weeks of continuous use.

I am picky about my diapers. I look for certain things in diapers, and I have standards on what goes onto my baby's delicate bottom area. And I was very pleased to find that this squishy Little Bottoms fitted diaper fit the bill. It is:

-Adjustable for a wide range of newborn/infant sizes
-Has turned elastic which leaves NO red marks or creases on baby
-Fits comfortably and stretchy
-Not too bulky, fits very well under a cover
-VERY absorbent!
-Made of high quality fabric that holds up well and does not lose it's softness or quality after months of continuous use.

I would say, for the purpose of critique, that if I were to change one thing about this diaper, that maybe the lay-in insert could be just a little longer. It was perfect for the newborn setting, but just a tad bit short as my infant wears it today. Granted, neither of us probably expected that she would be able to wear it for so long! So I'm definitely not holding that against her. ;)

If there ever comes a day that I must invest in yet another newborn stash, I would be happy to put in a bulk order with the sweet mama that makes Little Bottoms cloth diapers!


PS. Little Bottoms Diapers has graciously offered a GIVEAWAY item!! I'm getting the details sorted out and I will follow up shortly with another post with instructions on how YOU can win!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to Have an Organic Baby on a Budget

For the past 5 or so years of my life, I've been striving to live more naturally and include organics into my life as much as possible. I was interested in living a more natural life, but I didn't know where to start. After viewing the documentary "Go Further" by Ron Mann (which I highly recommend!) in 2008, my life was changed, and I decided to go organic and never go back. Since then, I've done much more research into the world of organics, and fully decided that for many reasons, it is the lifestyle that I want for myself and my family, and a lifestyle that could benefit the whole world!
Some of the benefits of living an organic lifestyle are:

- Less exposure to toxic chemicals.
Organic fibers, plants and foods are grown without chemical fertilizers, GMOs, herbicides and pesticides, and other harmful chemicals. Organic textiles do not contain harmful dyes are not treated with chemicals after production as many conventionally grown fabrics are to make them "resistant" to insects or even flames. They are not made with petroleum byproducts, as synthetic products and textiles are. Organic skin-care products are not filled with the smorgasbord of  toxic chemicals, but are simply plant based, safe products. (to find out if your skin care products are safe, or which products are the safest, go to EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database). The chemicals that are used in non-organic items are linked to cancer, skin irritation, and a long list of illnesses (go ahead and look it up, I've got to make this short).

-Good Karma
When you buy sustainably produced, fair trade products, you can rest assured that the planet is being well cared for, as well as the wages and working conditions of those who are producing them. No sweat shops. No poisonous chemicals in the faces of workers, causing them to have serious health problems. No blood, sweat and tears. Just good energy surrounding your little ones.

-Comfort and Warm Fuzzies
Organic fibers are naturally soft, comfortable, amazing feeling, amazing smelling (really! take a good long whiff of a new organic cotton shirt or blanket!), wonderful textiles. Part of the reason why I am more than happy to have my babies surrounded by organics. Also, organic natural fibers and plant-based products are less prone to allergies or irritation on the skin. They are breathable, natural, soft and beautiful. I feel happy folding my family's soft fluffy laundry and diapers. Why wouldn't you want that?

-Setting Limits, Saving money
When you choose to go organic, you are setting up a boundary for yourself that does not allow you to simply walk into a store and splurge on everything you think is cute. Instead, you turn it down because it is most likely not organic.  It is a great way to minimalize your life. You sell off or get rid of the items in your home that you can do without, and replace only what you need with organics (if you have a garage sale, you can use the $ towards the new organic items!). The ability to impulse shop is very limited when you choose to live organically. If you see something that is organic and overpriced, you make a mental note to search for the same item for a more bargain price. You'll be surprised how much money you can save with this strategy!

-Vote with your $
When you buy only organic, natural products, you are telling the corporations, "Hey, look. My family and our future generations and our planet deserves better. We're refusing to buy your mass-produced, chemical-filled, low-wage worker made, cancer-causing, pollution-making crap that is killing our planet. Change your ways and maybe I'll reconsider. Maybe." You're also usually funding wholesome, family owned companies or individuals with good morals and character, instead of corporations who care only about themselves and their profits, rather than the well-being of our planet and it's people. If you decide to buy the organic versions or popular brands, you're telling them "Hey, I like you, but I've got standards, you see. So I'll stick to the organic stuff, and maybe if you produce more organic stuff, I'll buy it too!". Big companies switching over to organic products is only a good thing..

The FUN part of going organic on a budget, is the challenge of finding a great bargain! Not only did we find ourselves paying less for organic products, but paying less for these organic products than we had ever paid for NON-organic products!! A deal's a deal, and we've found some great ones!

The #1 reason I hear from people on why they choose not to go organic is because they feel they cannot afford it. Switching every aspect of your life to organics can be difficult, especially when you're living on a strict budget. Also, one google search for organic products can send someone running for the fields, those prices can get OUTRAGEOUS! But after 5 years of converting our lives to organics, I'm here to reveal some of the secrets and even benefits of going organic on a budget.

Since this is a mommy blog, I'll start with the baby stuff, since that's where I began. We had tried to incorporate organics into our kids' lives as much as possible, but before we tried to conceive Baby Gummy, we decided that our next baby would be 100% unfailingly organic! And that she is! She is 100% breastfed with mama's (mostly) organic breastmilk, every single item of clothing, bedding, diapers, towels, cart covers, carriers, toys, skin care products and everything she needs is organic. In other words, anything that goes in or on her body. While striving for our goal to have an organic baby/family, we discovered amazing ways to not only find bargains but SAVE money while we were at it!
Please note that although we find an organic food diet VERY important, this specific blog post focuses on non-food items. :)


Pictured above is Baby Gummy's closet, with most of her clothes sizes 0-3 mos all the way to 2T. Every single item of clothing pictured here is 100% organic. Most were bought new with tags. I would also like to note, that we did not pay full price for a single one. We paid about an average of $5 per item, with a range of $2-$10. I think the most expensive outfit I bought was a brand-new-with-tags Laura Ashley Organics outfit that I found at a high-end downtown consignment shop for $14, which is still much less than it would originally retail. Now you have to admit, having a closet full of ANY type of clothes that average about $5 in price is impressive, but to have a closet full of ORGANIC clothes for that price is almost unbelievable, right?!  Keep reading to find out how it's done...

NAME DROP!: Some of our favorite brands of organic clothes are: Under the Nile, Burt's Bees Baby, Sage Creek Organics, Kate Quinn Organics, Nui organics, Speezees, Zutano organic, Skoon, Kushies, and many many many others (it pains me to have to leave some out, as I love them all so much!!)


For the first 2 or more years of your baby's life, they will most likely spend every minute of every day with their bottom in a diaper. That is why it is so important to be very picky about what goes against your baby's most sensitive and vulnerable parts! Organic diapers are soft, absorbent, safe, and chemical-free, and usually manufactured fairly and sustainably. Pictured above, is my babies' diaper stash as of last year. (I have since majorly destashed and focused on mainly 3 brands of organic diapers, but I felt this picture provides a good idea of the complete VARIETY of organic diapers that is out there!) The top shelf are all newborn diapers, the bottom shelves are One-size diapers, covers, and inserts (enough to diaper 2 children, and have some slack on folding laundry). Every one of them are either 100% organic, or have organic interiors, which is what will be against the skin. The diapers are made of organic cotton, hemp or bamboo. There are also some organic wool covers. There are pocket diapers, AIOs, AI2s, fitted diapers, prefolds, flats and lay-in soakers. I rarely will ever purchase a cloth diaper at full price, and I always seek out a bargain or coupon on what I am looking for first!

As of right now, we have converted our entire one-size stash to only BumGenius Elementals, or organic fitted diapers and organic prefolds/flats with organic covers and wool. The organic diapers pictured above (before our destash) are:
Osocozy Organic, GMD organic, Under the Nile, Imagine Organic, Bummis Organic, Babee Greens, Tiny Tush, Imse Vimse, Little Bottoms, Little Beetle, Goodmama with OBV, EcoPosh, GroVia, Swaddlebees (Eco-Nappi or organic fitteds), Clovers, SBish, EcoBumz, Kissaluvs organic, Motherease organic, DiaperRaps, Organic Caboose, Babykicks, Wahmies organic, Happy Heiny's Organic, BumGenius Elementals, Chelory, BottomBumpers, Blueberry Bamboo, Drybees organic, and Loveybums.


Our babies spend a lot of time playing, touching, and tasting their toys. It is important to make sure that while your child explores the world of imaginative play and various textures, that they are not being exposed to harmful chemicals and plastics that are often found in the average toy. Organic natural toys are safe for your baby and children to explore, and you can rest assured that their health will not be negatively affected. Pictured above is our Organic little Baby Gummy playing on her organic nursing pillow, on top of an organic sheepskin (Sorry vegans. It was a gift, and the benefits are many..), in her organic diaper, covered with an organic wool cover, playing with some of her organic toys. All that you see here was either bought at discounted prices, or gifted to us at some point (also a money saver, to put organics on your registry!). Keep reading for the secret on how your baby can also be an organic baby...

NAME DROP!: Although we've acquired a collection of organic toys of various brands, the ones pictured here are mostly Under the Nile, Vulli and Mary Meyer Earthmates brand.


Skin care products is one of the most important things that you can switch to organic! Did you know that every single thing that you put onto your skin, absorbs through your skin and affects your vital organs, your hormones, your blood, your immunity, your future health, everything!! When you are putting chemicals and carcinogens onto your skin, you are seriously affecting you health in ways you never knew. When you use safe, natural organic plant-based products, or organic oils, you could actually be enriching your health! What a difference that is! We made sure that we bought the lowest possible rated (on the EWG Cosmetics Database) baby products for our baby. (Pictured above is Gummy Bears's first bath) When a bath is needed, we only use chemical free natural organic soaps, and moisturize with organic natural oils or lotions.
NAME DROP!: We highly recommend Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Honest Company, Nature's Baby Organics, and any brand of Extra Virgin Organic Unrefined coconut oil.


Bedding is also very important to go organic. Did you know that chemically-treated (non-organic) mattresses and bedding produce much harmful off-gassing in a home? Also, our loved ones and ourselves spend a significant amount of our lives sleeping, with our faces and bodies pressed against our bedding and inhaling whatever our bedding is made of. That is why it is important to have only organic, natural fibers for bedding and blankets.

Other Items

In an attempt to keep this post short, I will briefly add without detail that some of the other items to look for in organics are: shopping cart covers, baby carriers such as slings, wraps, mei tei's or structured carriers, accessories, nursery furniture or covers for the furniture (such as changing pads and changing pad covers, nursing pillows and nursing pillow covers, decorative plants or flowers, curtains, lamps and other decor, towels, washcloths, sponges, and pretty much anything and everything your family regularly comes into contact with. Also don't forget to use safer feeding items such as glass, natural rubber, bamboo, organic wood, or stainless steel for bottles, sippy cups, bowls, plates, and utensils.

Now, the moment you've all been waiting for....

The Secret to how to afford it all:
My greatest tip is to buy a little at a time. Before you know it, you will have everything you need! Here is where to look for the best deals:

- Resale shops/Consignment shops: It's as simple as browsing around, looking at the tags. You'll be surprised what you can find out there in the resale/consignment world that is organic, in perfect condition (some even new with tags!) and only being sold for a few dollars.

- Craigslist: Just type in the keyword "Organic" in the for sale baby or toy, clothes, etc section, you'll be surprised what you can find! If you are familiar with any specific brands of organics, you can chance it by doing a search for those as well, and you might find someone selling a bundle of clothes, diapers or toys, etc with a few organics thrown in. Then you just ask the seller if you could specifically buy the organic ones. Items on CL sell for super cheap usually, so you'll find some great deals this way.

-Online resales: There are plenty. Spot's Corner (Hyenacart), Facebook Groups, various websites specifically meant for reselling items. Do your homework and you'll discover greatness!

- Local Swaps or Garage Sales: Our mommy groups in our area enjoy organizing a swap for  our unwanted items, and offering them for sale. A garage sale is also a great place to score some great finds. I actually managed to attain several organic diapers, covers, a few clothes, and eco-friendly toys at garage sales. It's worth the hunt if you enjoy that type of thing!

-Ebay: Many business that are going out of business and want to sell off their remaining merchandise post their items on eBay, very discounted. Also, many parents list their used, new but gifted, unwanted, or outgrown organic items on eBay. I've found some AMAZING deals on eBay! The perk to this is knowing that your money is being used to help out a family or a former business owner.

Note: When buying used organics, keep in mind that whatever detergents were used by the previous owner may contain chemicals, so you will want to do plenty of washes in hot water to wash the irritants/chemicals out, and begin using your own non-toxic natural detergents on them.

-Zulily: Is all I have to say. They always have the cutest selection of organic clothes at greatly discounted prices it is unbelievable! You have to be careful though, as there is SO much cute organic low-priced stuff on Zulily, that you might have to refrain from overspending. You just sign up for a free Zulily account (click here to sign up for one) and type in "organic" into the search box, and behold the wonders of the adorableness and great deals before you!! (and yes, I shamelessly linked you my personal Zulily invite lol. That's part of the awesomeness of Zulily though. If you have a Zulily account, and you invite people and they sign up from your invite link and make a purchase, you get store credit! And that means FREE organic clothes!! And who doesn't want FREE organic clothes?!! I've definitely bought some free organic outfits this way, and it made my week! It will make yours too, so do it! lol!)

- Family-owned businesses having a clearance or closeout: Many of my children's organic items were attained BRAND NEW at a very low cost this way. Just do a search for organic clothes/toys/diapers/etc (or whatever brand) + clearance and you'll likely find some great deals. I am astonished at some of the deals I was able to find this way.
(I would like to specifically thank a hometown friend of mine who owns a lovely little online organic shop called Crunchy Bunch. She's been having a closeout clearance sale of all of her amazing organic items, and during my pregnancy I was able to get LOTS of name brand organic clothes, accessories, slings/carriers, toys, cart covers, skin care products, diapers, towels, blankets, bedding, just about everything a baby could need...for literally $2-$5 a piece! It was a godsend! Although she has significantly less stock now than she did when I was pregnant with Gummy, she still has several BARGAIN organic items up on her site! Go check it out! Things will probably go flying out of her stock soon!)

Regular stores having a sale or clearance on organic items, or carrying low-cost organics: This one kind of speaks for itself ;) Yes, even some mainstream or outlet stores carry organic products. I've managed to find some great deals on organic items out there in mainstream world. It's rare, but it happens from time to time. For example, a local 99 cent store has been found to carry organic Babylegs brand leg warmers for just $1 each! I've found 100% organic 2-pack of lip balms at dollar tree for just $1 and also 100% organic soaps that I've seen for sale at health food stores selling $3-$6 each for just $1/each (and yes, we have a lifetime supply of soap now, lol!). I've also bought 3 packs of organic name brand receiving blankets and other baby items at outlet stores such as Ross or TJ Maxx for a mere $3.99 and such. I've also found organic beauty and skin care products at these stores very discounted as well.
Also don't forget Amazon! I've truly bought some organic baby clothes from there for only $3-$5/each with free shipping! Pret-ty awesome!

-Coupons for stores and online shops: If there are full-priced organic items you must have, be sure to do a search for coupons for the specific brand or store from which you are buying!

I truly hope that this post is able to help strict-budget or low-income families or individuals to achieve a goal of going organic at a reasonable price. I am writing this post in hopes that regular everyday people do not have to sacrifice their health or ethical standards, but can live a fulfilling, healthy organic lifestyle.
If you are able to afford all of the wonderful full-priced organic goodness that is out there, I am truly happy for you. I also don't look down at that at all. In fact, if you can afford to, I even encourage paying full price. After all, the costs of producing organic items can be much larger for the companies producing them, and by paying full price, you are keeping these companies running (good companies, which strive to make this world a better, cleaner and safer place for all). My primary goal in writing this post, is to prove to those who believe that an organic life is impossible due to costs, that it is entirely possible! You just have to do a little bargain hunting!

Boheme Mom <3
Discussion: What ways do YOU go organic on a budget?? Share your ideas!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our Hospital Birth Plan and Notarized Affidavit

There have been many issues lately where parents find themselves dealing with hostility and abuse of power when simply exercising their rights to refusal of unnecessary routine newborn procedures. After dealing with a nightmarish ordeal with one of my older children, I arrived at the hospital fully prepared with this birthplan when I went into labor with my 3rd child in order to outline my objections to certain treatments and the laws that protect my rights of refusal. I would like to share this birth plan with my readers, so that you may edit it to fit your own needs, and "arm" yourself against the threats and pressure that too many parents face from medical staff. Even if you are planning a home birth, it is important to know your rights and have a birth plan on hand in the event of a hospital transfer.

I would like to note that I did not 100% write this plan on my own. I took bits and pieces of other birth plans that I stumbled upon online and edited them to fit my personal preferences. This was about 3 years ago, so I unfortunately do not have the exact sources that I borrowed some of the wording from for crediting purposes. Please just be aware that this useful and effective birthplan is the result of the work and knowledge of many dedicated parents. I wish to share this only for the purpose of allowing other parents to have an easier time protecting their rights during a hospital birth. I have also edited our names out of them to protect our privacy.

The first portion of this Birth Plan briefly outlines our wishes and preferences before, during, and after birth.
The second portion is an Affidavit which points out health-related, conscientious, and spiritual objections to certain procedures; as well as the laws, Constitutional ammendments, and the Supreme Court case which protects our refusal. This is the portion that my husband and I got notarized prior to the birth. (It is not meant to be italicized, but for some reason, it wouldn't let me change it when I pasted it on here).

Note: It is ILLEGAL for any hospital staff member to ask you what religion you are, or to attempt to dispute your spiritual beliefs. Know your rights!

BIRTH PLAN FOR {Mother's Name}, {Hospital}
We are looking forward to the birth of our third child, a son, at {Hospital name} this fall. We understand that certain emergency or other medical circumstances may not allow for the accommodation of the goals listed below. The mother's previous labors have been short and uneventful, so we are not anticipating any problems. We ask that the following wishes be respected during this birth.
Home Labor Goals
  • We would like to labor at home as long as possible, before going to the hospital.

Hospital Labor Goals
  1. We plan to have present at this birth our Midwife, and the Father, {father's name} for support. We ask that ALL other visitors and unnecessary staff be turned away until we (the parents) have had time alone with our new son.
  2. The birth environment is very important to us. For that reason we ask that the lights be kept dim, noise be avoided and the door closed for privacy. We will bring our own music.
  3. The mother would like to wear her own clothes during the birth.
  4. We are attempting to have a natural birth, which we believe to be birth without medical and/or chemical intervention. We do understand that there are procedures which may be necessary. Except in the case of an extreme emergency, we ask that we be given the opportunity to accept or refuse any procedure.
  5. The mother prefers not to have an IV administered unless determined to be required for another procedure to facilitate delivery.
  6. The mother prefers not to have a catheter unless determined to be required for another procedure to facilitate delivery.
  7. If induction becomes necessary, we ask that non-chemical induction methods (walking, breast stimulation, castor oil, sexual intercourse) be tried before chemical methods. If chemical methods do become necessary, we prefer to use the cervical cream before trying pitocin.

    Birth and Delivery Goals
  8. We plan to handle pain with relaxation, massage, and water. Please do not offer chemical pain relief.
  9. We plan to use the squatting or semi-squatting position for pushing. If labor or delivery seems stalled, we would like the opportunity to try different positions (hands and knees, squatting, birth stools, etc.).
  10. The mother would like to push at her own pace. (Mother-Directed Pushing) And if time permits, The mother would like to feel our son's head as he descends.
  11. The mother prefers not to have an episiotomy unless determined to be medically necessary. She would first like to try perineal massage, support and warm compresses.
  12. The father would like to be included fully in the "catching" of our son and cutting of the cord.
  13. We would like to have the baby placed on the mother's chest with skin-to-skin contact immediately after the birth and for the first 1 to 2 hours following the birth.
  14. After the birth, we wish to nurse our son immediately. We ask that any evaluations be done while The mother is holding him.
  15. We ask that the cord not be cut until it stops pulsing.
  16. If Cesarean becomes necessary, The mother would like to be conscious, The father would like to be present at all times and we still prefer for our son to be nursed immediately.
Newborn Care Goals
  1. Please do not administer the eye medication and vitamin K shot.
  2. We would like to be the one's to give the baby's first bath.
  3. We would like to have a set of footprints stamped into our scrapbook when footprints are done.
  4. We do NOT wish to circumsize our son.
  5. We would like to establish breastfeeding. Please do not offer any bottles to the baby without parents' notification of an emergency medical need.
We thank you for taking the time to help us achieve a natural birth for our son!



We, _________________________, Sui Juris, Free, Natural Flesh and Blood Human Beings, state Citizens of the Texas Republic affirm: Be it known to all courts, governments, and other parties that:

Being people of Strong Religious/Conscious Morals, it is against our Deep, Sincerely Held, Religious Convictions to accept the injection of any foreign substance into our Bodies or the Body of our Child. This includes, but is not limited to, any and all, Vaccinations, Shots, Tests for Diseases, Oral Vaccines, Epidermal Patches and in any other way that Live or Killed Bacterium, Viruses, Pathogens, Germs, or any other Microorganisms, may be introduced into or upon our newborn's body.

This written statement to exempt our newborn from any immunizations, newborn screening, and the Vitamin K shot, because we hold genuine and sincere personal religious beliefs which are inconsistent with these medical procedures & experimentation. The practice of vaccination and the injection or application of any foreign substance is contrary to our conscientiously held religious beliefs and practices, and violates the free exercise of our religious principles.

The Hepatitis-B vaccine supposedly protects against a disease that is only transmitted through multiple sexual partners or street IV drug users and therefore usurps our parental authority to condemn such activity in our child. The acceptance of this vaccine promotes sexual promiscuity and immoral behavior in direct contradiction to the teachings of our faith.

The prescribing information on Vitamin K shot states that fatalities are an adverse reaction according to the Merck pharmaceutical package insert.

"WARNING - INTRAVENOUS USE Severe reactions, including fatalities, have occurred during and immediately after the parenteral administration of AquaMEPHYTON® (Phytonadione)." A conflict arises because our religious convictions are predicated on the belief that all life is sacred. God's commandment "Thou Shall Not Kill" applies to the practice of injection of carcinogenic substances that can kill.

We _________________ and ___________________, as the parents of ______________________(name of newborn child) are exercising our rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 33.012, and Texas Administrative Code §37.54, to receive Religious Exemption from Vaccination, ALL injections, & testing.

Applicable law has been interpreted to mean that a religious belief is subject to protection even though no religious group espouses such beliefs or the fact that the religious group to which the individual professes to belong may not advocate or require such belief. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended Nov. 1, 1980; Part 1605.1-Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Religion.

Our legal rights are guaranteed by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Recent court decisions have upheld the rights of individuals seeking exemptions from immunizations based upon personal and religious reasons. On the U.S. Supreme Court level in Frazee V. Illinois Dept. of Security, 489 U.S. 829, it was found that a state may not deny an exemption simply because a person is not a member of a formal religious organization.

The Lord and Our Creator are the only source of protection of our bodies and that of our family that we can accept.

We affirm that vaccination & injections of any foreign substances and proteins conflict with our religious beliefs as stated above. Therefore, we would request that you accommodate our religious beliefs and practices by exempting our newborn child from any vaccinations, injections and testing of any kind.

Rest assured that my family and I do practice a form of immunization that keeps our immune systems strong and is in keeping with Religious principles.

Further Affiant Saith Not

The use of notary below is for identification only, and such use does NOT grant any jurisdiction to anyone.

Subscribed and sworn, without prejudice, and with all rights reserved, (Print Name Below)

Principal, by Special Appearance, in Propria Persona, proceeding Sui Juris.

Signature of Affiant


state of Texas

county of _________________:

On this _______ day of ______________, 200__, before me

personally appeared __________________________________, to me known to be the person described in and who executed the foregoing instrument and acknowledged that he executed the same as his free act and deed, for the purposes therein set forth.

(Notary Public)

My Commission Expires ______________________________, 200___



I sincerely hope that, after editing these statements to fit your personal needs, that you will find them helpful during your labor, birth, and postpartum hospital stay and thereafter.

Boheme Mom

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Home Birth Story of Baby Gummy Bears

It's funny how we can spend so much time planning and imagining every detail of a long awaited moment... But when it comes down to it, it happens exactly the way it's supposed to.
Since before we even conceived Baby GB, when she was still only a hope for the future, I always pictured my homebirth completely different: At the first sign of labor, my husband would sage the, the whole house. We'd have our incense and music and I would be all over the place, going about daily life and posing in every labor position in the book with each contraction, while birth affirmations were repeated to me like mantras. It seems so silly to me now!
Baby Gummy Bear's birth was perfect.

Days before I went into labor, I felt drawn to stay in my room as much as possible. I had been a little sick and just wanted to stay in bed and rest those days. One morning, 2 days before I went into labor, I went to back to sleep while having strong regular contractions, and I had a very vivid dream. I dreamed that I woke up and I was in transition, I knew the baby was coming, and she arrived very quickly, within just a few pushes. In my dream, my baby was born in the caul (membranes intact) and it was a girl (we never found out the gender of our baby). I was so sad that my labor had happened so fast. But my midwife arrived very quickly and also the birth photographer and they did the best they could to make the best of everything. I woke up, so relieved it was only a dream, and the contractions had stopped. Later that day I texted both my husband and my midwife about the dream I had. The dream made me realize that the entire experience of having a homebirth... having the support of my husband and my midwife and being in the birthing tub and listening to music.. Those things were also important to me, more than just "getting the baby out". (being overdue, I had been feeling quite impatient to have the baby, I tried so many ridiculous "natural induction tricks" to no avail). After that dream, I gave up all efforts to encourage labor, and I decided to let my baby come on its own perfect time.

I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

The first thing the morning before, I had a bloody show. But other than a few hard but irregular contractions, and pink-tinged TP, nothing really happened. I got Nuni to sleep that night and spent some quality time with BluJay. I felt very restless that night, so I stayed up. Around 1 am or so, I realized that the contractions I was having were really getting intense. I laid there moaning lowly through contractions for a while while BluJay and Nuni slept. I began timing them on a phone app, and found that my contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart, lasting about a minute.. And within the hour, they got closer to 3-5 minutes apart. I realized I had not eaten for several hours, and I didn't want to go into labor hungry, so I ate a bowl of organic "toasted oats" (like Cheerios) and milk. Around 3:45 am, I decided to text my midwife and let her know that the contractions were intense and that I was going to take a shower for some relief. The shower felt so nice and made the contractions feel less intense, but they were still coming regularly. After a little while, I got out, and as I was drying off, the contractions were much more intense, causing me to stop everything. I couldn't talk or walk through them at all.

I finally woke up BluJay, telling him I'm pretty sure I was in labor. He checked his phone, it was about 4am. He kept trying to go back to sleep, but I finally insisted that I needed his support, so he got a Jones Soda cola, which we shared with hopes that the caffeine would give us an energy boost. I lit candles in the room and BluJay lit an incense in the living room for the occasion, but I didn't feel like leaving our bedroom much. I walked into the living room once and I swore that getting out of my "comfort zone" made the contractions hurt more, so I didn't leave the room again. I started bouncing on the birthing ball, but I had to stop through each contraction, as they were getting so intense. I kept reminding myself to breathe deeply, to allow oxygen to flow through my body. My husband brought in our labor and birth boxes into our room and got out some of our coping items.. I grew very fond of the two tennis balls in a tube sock.. It was amazing. At this point, I was now kneeling on the floor, leaning over either the edge of the bed or the birthing ball, while my husband pressed and rolled the tennis balls against my lower back during contractions, which helped tremendously. Nuni soon woke up and he was being amazingly good for us. Soon he chose to assist my husband in comforting me. He would rub his little hands on my back while I was having a contraction, and he would say in his sweet little toddler voice "it okay mommy. It okay." The love that flowed through his little hands to my laboring back literally eased the pain of the contractions entirely a few times. It was incredible.

We texted the midwife to head our way around 5am. She lives over an hour away, but I realized that time seriously flies when you're in labor! It didn't seem like long at all, but at around 6:45am, our amazing midwife Shannon, her doula assistant Trina, and the birth photographer Abby, were walking into the room, carrying loads of supplies. I had just begun getting very nauseous and was throwing up with contractions. I was so relieved when everyone showed up, and it was great to see friendly smiling kind faces. Shannon checked my vitals and we were all very relieved to find that my blood pressure was perfect! (the weeks before, my BP had been high, and we were worried it may present a problem in labor). Baby's heartbeat was perfect as well. Abby asked me if there was anything I wasn't comfortable with her photographing. I told her to go ahead and capture it all! I had never seen pictures of any of my births before and I was finally ready to see the process! A little while later, as I labored across my bed and began feeling nauseous, I turned around and jokingly told Abby to capture everything... EXCEPT for me puking! Trina got the birth pool blown up and filled. The air pump that was filling the birth pool was quite loud! Then again, all of my senses felt very heightened at the time. I just remember once the loud noise of the air pump started, suddenly my contractions totally stopped. My concentration seemed shattered, yet I couldn't bear the thought of leaving the safety of my room, so I continued to sit there through the noise. Nuni cuddled closely with me, unsure of the noise himself. As soon as the noise stopped, my contractions continued, now with an even greater intensity.

I breathed and blew air, closing my eyes for focus. I sunk into the music on my "birth playlist" as the midwife and doula worked to attach the hose to the sink and fill the birth tub with warm/hot water. I breathed in time with whatever Colplay, Beatles, Cranberries, Bob Marley, Eisley, or Iron and Wine (& ect) song happened to come on as I sat on the bed, waiting for that little turtle thermometer to reach the ideal temperature that would allow me to get into the pool. I asked BluJay to hang up a tapestry of a mandala that I believed would make a very good focal point, as the circular sections had always reminded me of the various stages of dilation. He hung it on the wall right in front of the birth pool.

After this point, time no longer exists. Everything moves in either fast forward or slow motion. I lost all concept of time as I fell into "labor land" as they call it.

The most welcome words I ever heard at that point were when I was told I could get into the water. I didnt hesitate at all. I was already in my swimsuit. My midwife complimented my pregnant belly. That's the last memory I have of actually looking at my belly while I still had it.
I dimmed the lights and got into the water and it felt so warm and amazing. The weightlessness of my body helped tremendously in reducing the pain of my contractions. I was almost afraid that my labor would stop, since I felt so comfortable. The birth attendants sat back and let me do my thing.

Nuni decided that he wanted to "swim" with mommy, so BluJay got him ready and put him in the pool with me. Nuni clung to me at first, hesitant to stand in the pool. I would cling to him right back while I was having a contraction. Finally Nuni got braver and started playing and splashing in the water, having a great time! After a while, he got a little too brave, and leapt across the pool and accidentally dunked himself under the water. He started screaming! I held onto him, comforting him, and right then a contraction hit. BluJay scooped him up and dried him off and got him dressed, and Nuni never got back into the pool.
The rest of my labor, I was completely zoned out, almost unaware of what was going on around me. If you were to ask, I couldn't tell you much about what anyone was doing. I remember hearing bits and pieces of conversation between Shannon, Trina, and Abby. BluJay would come and rub my back or press the tennis balls into my lower back every now and again. Nuni would talk, sing and play with his toys, he would check on me periodically. I would get out of the tub every so often to empty my bladder. I remember at one point, I stepped out of the pool, realizing that it was daylight outside. The contractions that happened while I was out of the water were so intense. All I wanted was to get back to the comfort of the pool. While having a contraction in the bathroom doorway, Trina came and started shaking my hips (in an experienced doula way). The pain of the contraction was immediately relieved when she did that and in amazement I told her "that felt so great!".

I started moving into transition. It became necessary for me to moan in order to cope with the contractions. At one point, I asked BluJay to get into the water with me. His comfort was indescribable. He held me in his arms and rubbed my back gently as I would have contractions. Being with him felt like exactly where I needed to be. I was not afraid at all. I felt so relaxed (and tired from being up over 24 hrs!) that I would fall asleep against BluJay in between contractions. BluJay was afraid that me falling asleep would stop my labor, so he would wiggle my hips and a contraction would come. I finally told him "do NOT do that!". As I moved further into transition, part of me wished that my labor would just stop, give me a break and let me sleep for a while. But it didn't. One time I got out of the pool and tried laying in bed to rest...but after 2 contractions, I decided that I could NOT go through one more contraction out of the water, so I got right back in the pool.

Nuni was being such a sweetheart while I was in labor. A few times he would come up to me as I was leaning across the edge of the pool and he would tell me "it okay mommy" or kiss my face. The little rush of happiness I got from that would always make the contractions hurt a little less. Abby tried to get a picture of Nuni giving me a kiss, but he shied away from the camera. I got so incredibly hot and sweaty during labor, and the box fan that was set up next to the pool was such a great relief! Trina would place a cool washcloth across my head every now and then and that also felt so nice! I started becoming nauseous again and with every other contraction, I would need the "pink tub". Anything that would break my concentration was almost painful...anytime a song would change, anytime someone spoke to me. Little things started to bother me, like the volume of the music being too loud or too quiet, or hearing the garbage truck outside. It was then that I realized that the mandala tapestry was not a good focal point. It seemed almost violent with it's RED and YELLOW and BLACK and GREEN contrast, and the chaotic design. I absolutely could not look at it during labor. (however, it did make a great backdrop for pictures). I decided that it was time for my swimsuit bottoms to come off.

The contractions became incredibly intense. As each one approached, it felt like dark clouds descending on a horizon. With each contraction, my closed eyes would visualize violent, giant crashing waves over a tiny boat. I thought to myself "if I were in a hospital, I would most definitely be asking for an epidural right now". I cried out to my midwife "please tell me this is almost over! I just want this to be over!" It almost surprised me how calm she sounded as she said "I would say, judging by how you sound, that you don't have too much longer." As she said this, a Bob Marley song was playing, the lyrics said "Lord, I've got to keep on moving.." It was right then that I realized that I had no choice but to keep going through labor until the end, and I had to stop fighting the pain. I sunk inward, began listening to my body, and it guided me. On my hands and knees, I began rocking my hips. I focused in on the music and the rhythms. I pictured my baby moving further down. I remembered a quote from Ina May Gaskin. My visions of violent waves in an ocean became visions of steady foamy waves washing upon a shore. I totally surrendered to the labor process and told myself "this is it. It's happening." Although I declined an internal exam for fear that it may discourage me, Shannon guessed that I must be about 7-8 cm. She told me to tell her when it becomes "unbearable".
The contractions were taking my breath away, but I kept reminding myself to breathe deeply. Trina would remind me to keep my face relaxed. When I couldn't, she would come and stroke my face in the places that I was flinching to help me relax. My husband was no longer in the water, as he had been caring for Nuni who was starting to get antsy at this point. I felt the need to empty my bladder once more and as I sat on the toilet, I noticed that my body was involuntarily continuing to push. I felt tremendous pressure on my bottom. As I got back into the pool, I asked BluJay to get back in with me, for some reason I insisted that he not wear a shirt this time.

I told my midwife I was feeling "pushy" and she sprang into midwife mode, opening up her cases and getting out her gloves and everything. They were telling me I was doing great. Although I was feeling "pushy" I was in doubt that I would be pushing the baby out soon. Although the contractions were intense, they never felt "unbearable" and although I had no real sense of time, I felt like there was too much of a relaxation time between my contractions to be close to pushing.. I was expecting contractions to be on top of one another before I would get to that time.

I felt very in tune with my body and continually felt drawn to do certain things... To rock my hips, to float my bottom in the water, to turn around and lean forward against the tub, to lean against my husband, and various other things. With each contraction the pressure became more and my body would begin to "push". Somehow I was still in doubt that I would be giving birth soon. I was leaning against my husband, with my body laid spread out across the pool while I was half-floating on my back. Shannon suggested I tried pushing a little. I felt the urge to stand upright on my knees through the next contraction. Suddenly I felt very powerful and full of energy. I got that familiar feeling of being connected with the eons of women throughout time that had given birth before me, I almost felt their guidance and comfort in spirit. Everything around me seemed interconnected. Every word that was spoken was meant to be said, every song that came on was meant to be heard, every contraction was perfectly timed. I started vomiting again during contractions, which drew my contractions out even longer. Trina assured me that vomiting was actually helping me, as it was causing my muscles to contract my baby downward. My moans intensified and my voice started getting higher. My midwife began moaning along with me in a lower tone to try to help me focus on keeping my tones low. I tried, it seemed impossible. Shannon commented that she believed the baby could be stuck behind my pelvic bone. With the next contraction, I felt the sudden urge to lean forward against the pool, and grab on to whatever I could get my hands on. Luckily some genius who designed the Birth Pool decided to put handles on the outside of it, and they were exactly what I needed. I began rocking, almost thrusting my hips back and forth. My midwife was now standing by my side, and advised me to try pushing with my next contraction. I thought surely I wasn't ready to really start pushing... Although very intense, labor wasn't quite "unbearable" yet.. But I gave it a shot. My next contraction approached and I half-heatedly gave a little push (I was afraid to start pushing hard, since I was convinced it wasn't time)....I sat up a little and the next thing I know the baby slid right down into my birth canal and my body completely took over, continuing to push and push without me even trying!! I remember thinking to myself that I could really trust my body, it felt comforting to know this. I exclaimed that the baby was coming and my midwife reached down to hold my perineum to prevent me from tearing. This reminded me of my fear of tearing and I hesistated to continue to push. I wanted my labor to stop altogether, I felt like telling everyone I give up, I'm not doing this anymore. That's when the next contraction happened and I suddenly felt such a pressure on my bottom that I almost stopped everything to announce that I needed to go to the bathroom..NOW!! My midwife asked me to give another big push, so I did. I no longer cared that I felt like I was about to poop. (Luckily I did not!) Shannon announced that the baby was crowning! I felt the "ring of fire" and my mind was teetering between wanting to stop everything, and wanting to get it over with ASAP! Getting it over with seemed more logical, so with my next contraction, I grabbed ahold of the handles and pulled with all of my might as I pushed as hard as I could!! My mind got a flash of a picture I once saw of a birthing woman holding onto a tree limb. I focused in on that closed-eyed vision, and I roared as I pushed my baby's head a little further. The midwife informed us that the amniotic membranes were still intact. I screamed as I pushed. I think someone may have said not to scream, but I screamed anyway. Nuni got frightened of my screaming and he started to cry, but someone (I think Trina) picked him up and explained that I was about to have the baby and held him up near the birth pool to watch. He calmed right down as he watched his sibling being born. My midwife told me to take all of that screaming and put it towards pushing in my bottom. That made sense, so as my next contraction came, I did just that. It totally worked! I bore down with all of my might! I could feel myself tearing in exactly the way I was afraid I would. I yelled so loudly and so powerfully, in a way that I was not even aware that I was capable of. The midwife announced that the head was out! The worst was over, and I felt such a sense of relief! I reached down and felt my baby's head. It was round and very slippery. My baby was almost here! I was so close to meeting my little one, I couldn't wait! With my next contraction I bore down with every fiber in my body, and I suddenly felt my baby's body slip out of me! Never in my life have I felt such an incredible, remarkable sense of whole-hearted relief!! At 11:52 am, after a 10.5 hour labor, and 18 minutes of pushing, my baby came Earth-side. My husband caught the baby as I lay face-down against the birthing pool, panting. Time stood still. The world was spinning around me as I heard the midwife and my husband exclaiming that the baby was born in the caul! I laughed in disbelief! "Just as I had dreamed!" I said. Shannon peeled the sac off of baby's head, and she asked if we had a boy or girl, and I heard BluJay say, "It's a girl!" in a tone that sounded as if he could hardly believe it! (my whole pregnancy BluJay was convinced the baby was a boy. Girls are very very rare in his family). I absolutely could not believe that my dream had come true!! I had a baby girl born in the caul! How could I have possibly predicted that?!

Shannon and my husband helped me get turned around, and lift my leg over the baby's cord. I saw my little baby girl floating in the water in my husband's hands. She was a purplish tint and I recall being surprised with what a big healthy looking chubby baby she was! Her face was so squishy. When I got settled in a seated position, my husband placed her in my hands, and I laid her across my chest. I stared at her in awe. I took a brief note as to what song she was born to, and I thought to myself that it could not have been more perfect. Shannon advised me to talk to her. I said "Hi baby. I'm your mommy. I can't believe you're a girl." Shannon urged me to keep talking to her, as she was slow to transition and hadn't cried yet. I tried to rouse her as she looked around the room and at me in wonder, but at last Shannon decided to give her some free flow oxygen to help her pink up. BluJay held the oxygen near her nose, and she pinked up soon enough. I caressed her little body, rubbing the vernix into her delicate new skin. I had the strangest sense of dejavu, as though this moment had happened before, or I had dreamed it. I asked someone what time it was, and I was told it was just before noon. I was in disbelief! Time flew by so fast! It definitely did not seem like I had spent 5 hours in the birth pool.

I felt my uterus continue to contract as I held my baby girl. I wanted so badly to kiss her face and breathe in her scent, but her cord was still attached to the placenta which was inside me, and the cord was too short to allow for me to bring baby girl up to my face. The contractions intensified and Shannon noted that there were membranes inside me. BluJay said "Is it another baby?" My eyes got huge. Luckily it wasn't. I tried nursing Baby Gummy Bears. She didn't seem too interested in nursing just yet. She latched for only a moment, but she was very alert and much more interested in looking at the world around her. Shannon exclaimed that this baby was one of the most alert newborns she had seen!

Shannon asked me to go ahead and try giving another push. I did and the strangest feeling squishy matter came out of was the placenta. Shannon noted that it came out "Duncan". I asked what that meant and she explained, although I only slightly remember now. BluJay saw a big cloud of blood start to fill the pool, and he promptly got out. After this, time just went in fast-forward.

They helped me out of the pool and I couldn't believe how much blood was spilling out of me. I remember thinking how crazy my belly looked.. an empty pregnant belly. It was such a relief to lay in my bed. Trina held Baby Gummy Bears, who was still "lotus" (attached to her placenta and cord) while Shannon helped me into bed. Trina said that baby peed while she was holding her! I turned off the music, which had been shuffling many of the same songs on my "birth playlist" for the past 7 hours or so. I was able to hold baby GB again, skin to skin. Shannon evaluated my bleeding and tear. Just as I had suspected, I tore upwards. My perineum was perfectly intact though. Shannon remarked that I had not even a "skid mark". I received drops of Shepherd's Purse tincture to help the bleeding. I also nursed Nuni to help my uterus contract. Nuni fell right asleep. The after pains were terrible, they felt exactly like the labor pains, if not worse. I got nauseous and started to vomit again. I took some After-Ease tincture to help. After a while I forgot all about my pledge to be med-free and I was asking for Ibuprofen. Shannon decided that my bleeding was not slowing adequately, so she gave me the option between a shot of pitocin or a cervidil suppository. I chose the shot of pitocin, which I received in my leg. It stung, but felt like nothing compared to what I had just been through. The pitocin did its job and the bleeding slowed.
Everything after that is just a blur of bloody towels, people coming in and out of the room, light conversation, the smell of bleach and ammonia, cups of warm 'mother's milk' tea, peroxide bottles, receiving drops of different tinctures and throwing them up into the trusty 'pink tub', the deflating birth pool, and various instructions or questions. I was so exhausted. At this point I had been awake for almost 30 hours straight.

I was able to get Baby GB to nurse. Her first latch was priceless. She had been "lotus" for about 2 hours before Shannon asked us who would like to cut the cord. I assumed my husband would want to, but he declined and said that I should do it, since he got to cut Nuni's cord. I had never cut any of my babies' umbilical cords before, so this was a first experience for me. Shannon handed me the scissors, and at last I severed the connection that my baby had known her entire life, with what was once her source of living, connecting her dependent little body to mine. It felt almost ceremonial as I silently welcomed Baby GB's vital 'independence' on this Earth. Trina grabbed up the placenta in it's pan to prepare it for encapsulation later on.
After plenty of skin-to-skin time, Shannon asked if I would like her to do the newborn exam. I was very ready to find out how much she weighed and everything. As soon as Baby GB left my arms, she let out her first cries. We made our guesses as to her weight. I guessed about 9 lbs, Trina guessed 9 lbs 2 oz. Shannon laid her in the sling and weighed her... 9 lbs 2 oz, just as Trina had guessed! She was 20 3/4 inches long. Her head measuring 14. Her apgar scores were 7 and 9. Her gestational age was right on at 40+ wks. Baby Gummy Bears is my biggest baby of them all! After the newborn exam, baby napped with my husband as Trina and Shannon prepared the herbal afterbirth sitz bath. She asked if I would like Baby GB to join me, but I declined as I wanted to delay her first bath for a few days/weeks, to allow the benefits of the vernix to remain on her skin. I was stark naked at this point and standing felt incredibly awkward, not because I was naked but because everything felt so out of place on my body, and
I was still heavily bleeding. I waddled over to the tub with a huge chux pad around my waist. Shannon explained to me that I must keep my bladder empty or risk hemorrhage, so I made a pit stop before going into the bathtub. As I stepped into the brown, herbal-infused shallow water, I dreaded sitting down on the hard tub floor, as my bottom area was so very swollen and sore. I felt like a mess and although the water smelled like a nice cup of tea, I was ready for the bath to be over almost as soon as I got in. I asked Shannon if she could hand me the handheld mirror so I could "pull myself together", and I fixed my hair a little. After 10 minutes or so, Shannon helped me out, advising me to take it easy since I had just given birth 3 hrs ago. Had it been 3 hours already?!! Time was flying! Shannon chose a tank top for me and I put it on, along with those mesh undies that go with the giant postpartum pads.
After Trina and Shannon did the last bits of cleaning up, they started a load of towels in the wash, and got me all tucked into bed with my sleeping family.
They asked me what I thought of my birth and I told them with a smile
"This is exactly the way it's supposed to be."

Shannon, Trina and Abby said their goodbyes and showed themselves out, leaving me to rest in bed. Everyone was snoozing away, and despite my exhaustion from being awake well over 30 hours, and giving birth, I still felt a little restless and filled with new mom joy. I kept replaying the events of Baby GB's birth in my head. I was so happy and thrilled to finally be able to say that I had a perfect birth experience with no regrets whatsoever. I finally had the homebirth that I had always dreamed of. I finally had our baby in my arms.


Boheme Mom