Monday, December 05, 2011


I know Halloween was a couple of months ago, and at our house, Christmas is in full swing, but there are a couple of Zombies walking around this house right now! Raised from our slumber every night, or kept awake late, we are slowly learning how to keep two children happy on very little amounts of sleep.
The mad scientist who is responsible for the Zombies creation is this small, one month old little boy. Wren doesn't look the part of a mad scientist. Mostly he just lacks the white lab coat, but besides that, he is a perfect match for a Dr. Frankenstein type. He has worked in his secret lab, concocting up any and every way to stay awake or to wake up as many times as possible throughout the night. Also, while asleep, he likes to growl and grunt and snore and coo as loudly as possible to prevent any Zombies from changing back to their normal human form throughout the night.
As Zombies, our only weakness is a pouty, jealous two year old lip from a child who doesn't always grasp that the attention is not fully on him and that he is having to learn the virtue of sharing the Zombies time with the person who created the Zombies in the first place. A rough lesson for a two year old, no doubt, but one that River is taking with apparent grace beyond his age.
The twist in this classic Zombie tale, is that the Zombies are head over heels in love with both the one month old Mad Scientist and the two year old Zombie Slayer. We are loving every minute of this new adventure and we really don't care walking around the day like two of the un-dead. We keep our identities as Zombies hidden by scheduling a shower every once in a while and putting on a clean outfit. Most Zombies eat people, we just eat snacks at weird hours of the night and morning. The world is kept in the dark as to the true nature of the dangerous Zombie creatures that leave our house every day to walk amongst the public. You know the truth now though! So keep your eyes out, we may be nearer than you think!
Some photos for the update:

The Musician in the family


More sleep, just usually not when we are able to!

River likes to help out now

This is not usual, but sometimes he likes to gives Wren kisses

Pretending to be asleep

Playing with the Christmas Train

It's a family affair

River emulating his Uncle Choyer cutting hair at our friends house

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yes! My Amazing Afterbirth.

A print of my placenta. You can see where the knot was located about half way down the cord.

Yes! You read it correctly, My Amazing Afterbirth. I'm so bummed we didn't get a picture of it. I always take pictures of everyone else's but forgot to take one of my own. It was a beautiful placenta, bright red with lots of capillaries and veins. It was pretty dang sexy if I may say so myself. Even my midwife and her assistant commented on how good it looked.

My dried umbilical cord. The knot is at the top left.

Here's my umbilical cord story...

When Wren came out, the cord was wrapped around his neck twice, his body once, and there was a perfect knot in it. Around his neck not too much of a deal to me, it happens often. But it was the knot that was so amazing to me. At the time, I was just so happy he was here. But over the few days at The Farm we talked about it with Stacie. She said that she had only seen a knot 6 times in 15 years. And one time it didn't turn out well. There were other issues going on, but the knot didn't help. Wren must have tied the knot early on in the pregnancy when he could swim a lot more. He would have had to swim in one direction and then back through the cord again. From what I remember my midwife sharing with me, she had done some research on knots after the one didn't turn out well. Some research suggests that women with low blood pressure tend to have more "cord accidents." Women who have low blood pressure and get a knot in their cord (which isn't that common) are more likely to have the knot tighten down. There is less blood being pushed through the cord making it easier for the knot to tighten and slow down the oxygen.

I've always had low blood pressure but with this pregnancy it was even lower. I was mainly in the double digits. But here's what is so interesting...Yes, this is speculation from Stacie and me but interesting nonetheless. I started seeing Lyle, an acupuncturist at East Nashville Community Acupuncture. At first I went for Moxa trying to turn Wren from breech. Well, that worked after one or two treatments. I continued going to acupuncture because I wanted help with regulating my gestational diabetes and raising my blood pressure. YES! I wanted to raise my blood pressure. Something inside me told me to do it. A mother's intuition is so freaking wise!!! With Lyle's help, we got my blood pressure into the triple digits. It was an accomplishment. I kept going for those reasons because not only had Wren turned vertex but now I was having success with my diabetes and my blood pressure. Speculation....Receiving acupuncture throughout the pregnancy to raise my blood pressure might have saved Wren's life. Because raising it may have pumped more blood through the knot keeping it loose. Thank you, Lyle, my Life Saver!!

Placenta Encapsulation....

Here's a photo of my tincture. I haven't delved into that yet. I could save it and use it for menopause.

With River I had a little more than the normal Postpartum Blues off and on. I had a bit of depression that didn't completely clear up until around 8 months to a year. In all honesty, I absolutely love being a mother and I have been since Day One. I couldn't quit kissing either of my Sweet Babies when they come out, even if they are covered in amniotic fluid, blood, and vernix. It was the sleep deprivation, not having much extra time for cooking meals and showering, topped with a gassy baby who cried a lot and being self-employed. I found it difficult at times to relax into my new role as a a mother. I didn't talk much about it because of the work I do. I was embarrassed. It's the weirdest be absolutely in love with this little creature and struggle meeting your own needs. This time I knew I needed to make some changes.

Placenta Encapsulation is supposed to help your hormones balance, give you energy, and help with milk production. It does a lot more, but those are the ones that stick out to me. I contacted Heather Crandall with Beautiful Dawnings. She came out within 24 hours and picked up my placenta. She dried it and encapsulated it for me. She also made a liquid tincture, a print of my placenta, and dried my umbilical cord. She kept the knot in for me. I didn't even have to ask. She knew it was special. I've been taking my "mommy pills" everyday. And I SWEAR by them. For the most part, my hormones haven't been wacky (with the exception of the unavoidable sleep deprivation crankiness), and I have more energy. Ryan can tell if I've missed taking them for a day or two. I've always promoted the idea, but now I will even push it harder for women. It has changed my life and my postpartum journey thus far.

Cheers to the Placenta!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Our Chimney Sweep

We were on The Farm for Halloween. Neem, Pappy, and Ryan were going to take River to Spring Hill for trick or treating, but he had a melt down as they drove away from the birthing house. He wasn't sure why everyone was leaving Mommy and Baby behind. Ryan turned the car around, and we decided that he would go trick or treating on The Farm instead.

River's favorite movie is Mary Poppins, so he was a chimney sweep for Halloween. River doesn't like dressing up, so we had to trick him. Ryan got him ready in the car, told him he was putting "lotion" on his face, and he thought he was wearing his favorite hat. When they got back to the birthing house, we showed him a mirror and he was startled.

Jamina came down and stayed with Wren and me while everyone else went trick or treating. It was nice to have a friend to come and hang with me while everyone loaded up on candy.

Our Time At The Farm

We stayed at The Farm for 6 days after Wren was born. Stacie came and checked on us everyday. We just took our time. We say it's like our Disney World or our own Little Eden.

Ryan's parents drove down from Virginia, and my parents helped us out a ton! My parents cooked us meals every night. How lucky are we?!

We spent our time getting River acquainted with a new family member. Honestly, he didn't like it at first. And that was hard for Ryan and me. He's adjusting now, but those first few days were rough. His break through came when he saw Wren laying in the sun without any blankets wrapped around him and with his hat off. River had an epiphany, and said "baby feet?" Once he realized that Wren was just like him, only smaller, he has been into Wren ever since.

River also had lots of playmates between Daddy, Neem, Pappy, Grandma, and Grandpap. He played outside and went on walks and adventures to see the horses and chickens and play at the playground.

Jim came down to meet his new godson, and Jamina came for a visit too. My friend, Jen, who lives near the Farm stopped by for a visit as well.

Here are some photos from our first few days as a new family.

Wren's Birth Story

**This is a very condensed version from my 7 page handwritten account.
Enjoy what I recount from Wren Outlaw Jenkins' special day!

I started getting emotional the week of October 23rd. Everyone thought baby would be here by now. "Bed Rest" since mid-July was wearing me down. We didn't have a certain due date. I had been measuring small the whole time, and a couple of the midwives had said in passing that they thought I would go into November. Ina May mentioned Thanksgiving. I never thought I would think Ina May was full of it. I had been doing more research on gestational diabetes for a friend, and my emotions were running high. Nonetheless, the power of words were taking a toll on me. Ryan woke up on October 26th and found me in the living room crying. I couldn't even explain why, but I started fearing that something might be wrong with our baby. He secretly called Stacie, our midwife, and told her what was going on with my emotions. I had an appointment that day, and he wanted her to know where I was at emotionally. She arranged a ultrasound to ease my fears. Everything looked good! We did find out that baby was posterior, meaning that the back of his head was facing my sacrum instead of the most optimal way of being face first. Being a doula, I know that that usually means longer harder labors. Stacie checked me that day, and I was already 2-3 cm and baby was VERY LOW, 0 station. My mom ran me a bath at her house and suggested that we all get out of the house the next day.

When I woke up on the 27th, I noticed some bloody show. I thought maybe I lost my plug. We met my parents at Loveless Cafe and rode the Natchez Trace for awhile. During our ride on the Trace, I started feeling "something" but I couldn't put my finger on it. I kept quiet about it and would look at the clock periodically; it was about 10:30 a.m. I noticed that my "something" was happening every 7 minutes. When we got back to Loveless, I told Ryan that I might be having contractions. We all ended up back at our place since it was raining for an indoor picnic. I got a shower and the contractions stopped. There was more bloody show though.

I laid River down for a nap at 1:30 and we crashed together. Those feelings woke me up a few times during our nap. At 3, I got up to let Ryan know that they were back. We decided to contact Stacie. I knew she would suggest we come down. She did. She said the worst thing that could happen would be to come down, be checked, and stay the night.

Once we made the decision to go down to The Farm, the contractions started coming anywhere from 2-7 minutes. They were a little more intense and mainly in my back since baby was posterior. They began to require me to stop and focus on breathing. I would point to Ryan as he packed the car up, and he would keep time. I remember him saying, "Kari, some of them are 2-3 minutes apart. We need to get a move on it." I still kept my slow, steady pace. We all got in the car, River and Chaco, included and headed out.

It was about 4 or 4:30, and Stacie called to check on our location...only to find us sitting in traffic on the interstate. She wanted to let me know that Laura, her cousin, was going to assist her and let me know what other midwife would be there too. I was pleased. Stacie and Laura are a hoot together. And all the while we all weren't still sure I was in true labor. We dropped River and Chaco off at my parents. We started our birth music and drove the rest of the way. I was never so happy to get to The Farm. My low back was so uncomfortable.

We got to the birthing house around 6:30p.m., and Stacie and Laura were waiting for us. I thanked Laura in advance for being my official butt wiper. We all laughed! Stacie checked me and I was 4 cm and a lot thinner from the day before. We all agreed that we "thought" this might be labor. Stacie and Laura went to the Farm store to get us all some soup and give us some privacy to unpack and get settled.

While we were unpacking, Ryan very kindly asked, "Do you want me to set up the video camera?" I couldn't decide before hand, so I had told him to ask me in the moment. My response in the moment was to stop in my tracks and use a 4 letter word. I can't remember which one but we'll go with a Hell No! I apologized immediately or at least I meant to. Ryan said I used a lot of 4 letter words this time. I do know that I kept saying, "Good God." I apologized to Laura and Stacie. I found out that Laura is a preacher's daughter. It seemed like I repeatedly said, "Good God! I don't know why I keep saying that. I'm sorry."

Knowing Wren was posterior, I decided to try and turn him using a Roll Over Technique from Back Labor was a totally different experience than River's birth. Everything was much more intense. When Stacie got back from the store, she came to check on me. She found me half way through the Roll Over Technique in a lot of discomfort. Stacie told me she didn't want me to fear a posterior labor/birth.

"Either baby will turn or you'll push him out posterior."
"But I'm only half way through the technique."
"Is it working? Are you comfortable?"
"&*%$ NO! But I'm an over achiever. I'm only half way through."
"Well, I would get up and squat and get this baby out."

I threw in the towel on the Roll Over Technique and went to the kitchen for some soup. It was about 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. at this point. We all hung out in the kitchen telling stories and cracking up. When a contraction would come, I would hold onto the counter and squat or get on all fours. After awhile I couldn't handle anymore Amish stories. Stacie and Laura birth Amish babies and massage their families too. So they have tons of stories. As funny as they were, I couldn't get on top of the contractions anymore.

Around 8:30 or so, I retreated to the bedroom. I wanted to be checked, but I wasn't feeling any urge to push. I started to "lose control" and panic. The intensity was growing, and the low back pain was causing me to panic internally. She checked me, and I was between 6 -7 cm. My only thought at that moment was I made some progress. I was on all fours in the bed, and Stacie offered to put pressure on my low back. That didn't work. She suggested a bath. They got the water running, and Ryan got my birth music set up. I climbed into the tub and would go back and forth from sitting up to all fours.

I requested Lady Gaga's, You & I. We all commented on how much we loved this song. During my tub time, I would stare at the tile on the floor or this button on the side of the jacuzzi tub. I would breathe and push my breath into it. Here I was using my Birthing From Within practices. Sometimes I would roll my forehead up onto Ryan's shirt and breathe deep. It felt so good to have him sitting near me, encouraging me. Stacie told me to let her know if I felt the urge to push. After 20 or 3o minutes in the tub, I felt my nether regions expanding. They felt like they were about to rip in two. Ryan asked me if I wanted to get Stacie. "No! Let me have one more." With the next one, I came up out of the tub like the Loch Ness Monster. "Get Stacie!"

They got me out of the tub and back into the bedroom. I threw myself back onto the bed, and Stacie checked me. I was 9 cm. I think it was about 9 p.m. at this point. I couldn't form thoughts or words much at this point. However, I heard Hanson playing from our play list.

"I always knew I would give birth to Hanson."
"Yeah. We know."
"You know, Mmm Bop."
I think it was Laura who actually appeased me by saying that she didn't know they had new stuff. I swear one day Hanson will give me front row seats or backstage passes for being so devoted. If you know me well, then you know how hilarious that conversation and spot on that conversation is for me to have in labor.

I started pushing my head into Ryan's abdomen with my arms wrapped around his waist, and my vocalizing took over. Moaning. Groaning. Screaming. Those powerful birth noises are indescribable. "Toilet," I said. They got me there.

Once my butt sat down, I felt Wren coming and there was nothing I could do to control or stop it. "I can't stop it. He's coming!" My water broke on the toilet. How convenient?! Stacie told me she couldn't protect my perineum on the toilet. She wanted to get me back to the bed. But once I stood up I knew he was coming out, and I couldn't go anywhere. Ryan sat down in the corner of the bathroom and helped me down too. I leaned back on him, put my arms above my head and grabbed his shoulders. My body had taken over, and I was along for the ride. I wasn't even intentionally pushing. My body was doing it without me controlling it. Stacie looked at me and with her fingers showed me an egg size shape with her hand. "I see this much head" in the midst of me screaming, "I can't stop!" And just a few moments later, she said the head is out. I gave a push for the rest of his body, and he was out. And yes, Footloose came on! The only other person I know named Wren is Ren McCormick from the movie.

I remember this with River too but it's the most amazing feeling when you're handed your baby. The feeling of their warm, wet, slippery body against yours and then your eyes meet for the first time! Wow!!! And it was 9:20 p.m. I jokingly told everyone when I got there that I wanted to be done before bed time. Ta-dah! We were...kind of.

The placenta came after about 10 minutes. I've always wanted to cut a cord, so Stacie let me cut my own cord. I thought it was fitting since Wren and I had been connected for 9 months. I wanted to be the one to cut it when I was ready. We all had some time on the bathroom floor before everyone got me up and to the bed. Since Wren came out SOOO quickly, I had some bruising and tearing. Stacie said I tore like a flower. It sounds a lot nicer than it probably looks or definitely feels. She made Ryan promise NOT to give me a mirror if I asked for it. They know me too well. In those moments, I didn't care. Just take your time stitching me (2 hours worth), give me my frozen Arnica and Witch Hazel Pads, and we'll call it a day. I had my new sweet baby, and my husband beside me. All that was missing was my River boy.

Stay tuned for more blogs on the amazing umbilical cord and life changing placenta encapsulation...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kari, Wren, and Family Belly Photos

We had our good friend Jamina come out to the house and take some pictures of Kari while she was still pregnant with Wren. We put together a little slideshow of the best pics.
Thank you Jamina for being patient with two un-photogenic adults and a wonderfully photogenic, but hyper 2 year old little boy!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

What's In A Name?!

I can't believe we're coming up on 2 weeks, and we still haven't been able to add photos and blog. Our computer broke the moment we arrived at The Farm to give birth, and Ryan tried to fix it over the last couple of weeks. But no luck! We've ordered a new one, and it should be here soon. Hopefully, soon we'll be able to put pics and update the blog better. I thought I would do a simple blog about Wren's name. We keep getting questions, so here it is...

Much like River's name, we just liked the name Wren. It didn't have to be a nature name, but Wren was the only name we could agree on. So, Wren it is. Outlaw is my grandmother's name. Ruby Mae Outlaw, and she was one of the most amazing women I have ever known. She was definitely the matriarch of our family, the glue so to speak. I hope to find a photo of her and add it to the blog. Well, that makes Outlaw my mom's maiden name too.

River is named River Morgan Jenkins after Ryan's grandfather and now Ruby Mae gets her name passed on.

And that's how the name Wren Outlaw Jenkins came to be.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween

Here is Wren's Halloween outfit.  Heading home today.  Hopefully we will be able to post some pics of River's costume once we are there.