One Regret

I’ve always been told to live life without regrets, but there’s one thing I will always regret. I regret not having gotten nice pictures done with Maddi and Danny. I always wanted to, but it just never happened. We couldn’t afford to have them done professionally, and even though we had a nice camera, Dan wasn’t too enthused about taking the pictures for me… And I didn’t know anyone willing, able or who had the time to do them for me.

So unfortunately, I never got those special pictures with them. Sure, I had candid snapshots, and poses I attempted to make look good… But nothing nice.

I didn’t want it to be the same this time. Not with Ava.

So, my friend Chelsea and I spent the afternoon, and this is what we got.


And my favorite for last….

Averly’s Birth

Averly JoAnne Van Vleet was born on February 20th, 2011 at 3:56pm. She shares a birthday with her Great-Grandma Margaret. She weighed 6lbs, 14oz.

Averly JoAnne Van Vleet

I had a successful vaginal delivery after two cesareans. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t cheap. It took a lot of planning, and going the extra mile. I wanted it to happen, so I did everything I could to make sure it happened. And it did. My hard work paid off, and she came into the world without the use of scalpels, and without having to be gutted and turned inside out.

She was born on her own time, 100% naturally. No inductions. No pain medications. Just me, my baby, my body. If you want to read her birth story, you can find it here.

When I found out I was pregnant in June of 2010, I knew the birth wasn’t going to be typical. I knew right off the bat that I needed to start planning, and start researching. I had two prior cesareans, one in 2007 and one in 2009; both of which were not truly medically necessary …” READ MORE….

Ava’s birth was amazing. I don’t think I have ever felt so empowered, or so accomplished as when I gave birth to her. For the last few years, all I had had heard was “You can’t, ” “It’s too dangerous,” “You’re crazy,” “It will never happen,” “You’re wasting your time,” “Yeah right,” and “Just have another c-section.” There weren’t many people who believed in me, and there weren’t many people who supported me. My husband and a few close friends were the only cheerleaders on my team. My family took a neutral stance, and most everyone else had something negative to say.


I did it.

I did something amazing. I achieved the “impossible” and I didn’t let them get to me. I’d be lying if I said their comments didn’t hurt, or if at times I didn’t wonder if maybe I really was crazy or if things would turn out horribly and it would be my fault… I had that paranoia. That fear.

But I kept on. I stuck with the facts and kept the statistics in mind. I wasn’t going to let them get to me. I read everything I could get my hands on, and I avoided people who had nothing but mean things to say to me. And it paid off.

I did it.


So, I haven’t really been on here in a long time. I guess I’ve been busy… But with two kids, who isn’t?

So, where to start…?

First, I ended up going to see Dr. Elrod up in Wasilla and I love him! He’s the best doctor I’ve ever seen and I’m really confident that if my VBAC is possible (and it is) that it will happen without unnecessary force and pressure from a pushy intervention-happy doctor. I’m really happy with my choice and even though the drive sucks, it’s totally worth it.

Second, I took a semester off from school. I wanted to focus on some other things, so that’s what I did. In the meantime, I finished my certification as a childbirth educator. I’ve taught some private classes but have yet to set up a large group class. I want to, just waiting to hear back from people on space availability.

Third, I started writing freelance to earn up some money for a carseat for Maddi. I’ve earned enough for her carseat, and now I’m saving up for Danny’s carseat. Definitely a worthwhile purchase in my book. Just takes a little time. The carseats they have now work, but I want to keep them rearfacing longer and it won’t be long until they reach the limit on the seats we have currently. It’s a really neat program and I’ve enjoyed writing for them…especially considering that most of what I’ve wrote, I had to write eventually anyways; it just gave me a little motivation and incentive to do it sooner!

Fourth, I’ve been sewing… a lot. I’ve gotten pretty darn good at my diapers and have been experimenting with other styles, but I still love my pockets best. Lately, I’ve been making clothes a lot, I am getting inspiration from the best vintage t-shirts in my closet.

So as you can see, I’ve been getting pretty crafty. In the meantime, Dan’s been working on the bedroom trying to get that done before the new baby gets here.

So now it’s just a matter of getting drywall and then getting it in. I know how to mud, so that’s not a big deal but Dan has to do the drywall… I can’t lift the stuff. Hurts too much.

Fifth, Danny stopped nursing about two months ago, so he went to 16 months nursing! It’s most likely because of my milk supply tanking because of being pregnant. I’m glad he weaned himself though.

Sixth, Maddi started preschool in a special program for communication-delayed kids. She loves it and has so much fun!

And lastly, we found out that this baby is…


So, here name will be Averly and we’ll probably call her Ava or Avalee for a nickname.

The Future

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days. About the future. About what I want to do with myself. What I want to do for my kids. How I want them to see me. How I want to see them. And for some reason, every time I think about it, I’m always drawn back to the same thing and the thing is that I consider on taking a loan from so I can afford to do more things for my kids.

I signed up for my classes for this coming fall. Cultural Anthropology, Spanish I, Introductory Biology, French I and Interpersonal Communication.

I’ve decided that I’m going to get all A’s this coming semester and make dean’s list. I’ve done it before, I can do it again. I’ve made up my mind and I’m set to do it. That’s all there is to it. I’m going to get all A’s and I will make it work because that is what I want.

I want my kids to be able to be proud of me. I don’t want them to be embarrassed because mom or dad work somewhere like fast food place, a grocery store, or a gas station beacause i want to give them more than just the best tankless water heater. I want them to be proud of me when they say, “Yeah, my mom has a degree in _________ and she does ________ for a living.” I want them to feel like I’m not a failure. I don’t want them to look at me as an example of what NOT to do in their own lives (unless you’re talking my teenage years).

I don’t want to have to not get things on my grocery list just because I don’t have enough grocery money for them. I want to be able to plan a meal and be able to buy ALL the ingredients I need for it at once. I know I’ll probably still coupon clip and buy off brands when that day comes, but I don’t want to feel like I can’t get it because I simply don’t have enough so an Easy cash with UL4U is a great help.

I don’t want my kids to ever have to go without. I want them to have everything they need and more. I want to leave them with something other than massive debt and heaps of junk when I die.

I don’t want THIS life… I don’t want to live in low-class, low-middle class forever. I don’t want to be like so many people I know… Working multiple jobs. Living in a crap home. Or even worse, a crap apartment. Filing bankruptcy. Having to take out theo government subsidized home loans just to have a place of your own… Even though it’s not really your own with that… I don’t want to be like that and I don’t want to be like them…

So I’m doing what I can to give myself, and my family, a better life.

I just hope I can do it.

Cysts, baby, & Annoying Doctor

So, about a week ago, I was having some really sharp stabbing pains on the lower right side. I wasn’t bleeding, but it really hurt and I got kind of scared that something was wrong with the baby, so I called the hospital, spoke to the ER lady, who transferred me to OB, who transferred me to a different nurse, and ultimately I decided that I should go in to be on the safe side.

I was really nervous going in. I really didn’t want to know anything bad, and I was almost tempted not to go just for that reason, but I did. They checked me in, and brought me back to Room #11. I got really choked up and couldn’t really talk. Room #11 was the room I found out that I lost my baby. It was the room where I felt completely betrayed by my own body. It’s the room I was curled up in the bed and hoping I would die in. I know it’s just a room, but it was so creepy being in there. It really was. I knew that the room wasn’t anything significant, and I honestly hadn’t expected myself to have the reaction I did, but I couldn’t help it. I just couldn’t stop crying. I calmed down after a bit and let them do everything they needed to.

They ran bloodwork to confirm that I really was pregnant. That part made me nervous because that was the first thing that went wrong when I lost Jacey. The test went from being positive a couple days before, to being negative in the hospital that day. That came back fine, which was a relief. They did my levels and they were 3,149, which for 5 weeks and 1 day, was really good and in the normal range. When I had my miscarriage, they were 17 and dropped even more… So having levels that high was a huge relief!

They did a pelvic exam (yuck) and then an ultrasound, which was kind of boring. All you could see was this big empty black sac. I looked, and I swear I saw two teensy weensy little dots along the side of the sac outline, but the sonographer didn’t see them, I don’t think… So I guess I just have to wait more.

Turns out I had a couple cysts on my ovary. I had a followup with an OB the next morning, and he said the cysts weren’t big enough to be causing pain… But SOMETHING is hurting on that side… It’s not hurting much anymore… But it was.

I’m kind of annoyed with the OB I have in Soldotna. He’s really irritating me. My due date is February 14th, and he said something about scheduling my csection for February 7th because of some scheduling conflict… And I told him I’m not having a cesarean… And he just kind of looked at me funny… And asked me again “After two c-sections???” And I said yes… And he started acting like it was super risky…

But seriously… Forget him. I don’t plan on delivering with him anyways.

VBAC Women Denied Acces to Midwifery Care in Most States!

One thing that has been on my mind lately, is my inability to utilize the services of a midwife. Unfortunately, because I have had two cesareans, heck, even if I had only had one, I am not allowed to use a midwife for my pregnancy and birth in the state of Alaska. I know that I can do prenatal care through a midwife who has a backup, but they cannot do my actual labor and birth. They are subject to losing their license if they do accept me as a client.

I don’t know who is familiar with it, but if you look at the medical model of maternity care and the midwifery model, you’ll see that the outcomes of both models are drastically different, with the midwifery model being the more positve of the two.

And Alaska isn’t the only state that does this. A lot of them do, however, I don’t know which ones off the top of my head… Regardless, it’s ridiculous that women attempting VBACs are being denied access to midwifery care. The chance of rupturing is incredibly low… Heck, there’s probably a lot of other issues with pregnancy that could happen that are at a higher chance than that of rupturing! It’s ridiculous.

What are the laws in your state regarding midwives and VBACs?

Choosing An OB for a VBAC

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that most OB’s don’t like VBACs. It just seems that way to me… Especially in my community. I’ve heard of them being doine… But I’ve never really heard that any of the cargivers in this area support them. They might, they might not, but I don’t know if I’m comfortable going for a caregiver who dosen’t have a reputation for being pro-VBAC.

In my community, there’s only five OBs that I know of; Dr. Barton, Dr. Anderson, Dr. Deede, Dr. Behrens and Dr. Sheridan. One of them did my first cesarean and my prenatal care before I had my son… The other, I’m not very fond of his bedside manner, as one of my doula clients had him as a doctor. The other, I had for my daughters pediatrician for a bit, and just didn’t care for it… And the other I love, but her specialty isn’t obstetrics. And the other… I had her when I was hospitalized while pregnant with my son and I didn’t care for her…

I’ve heard of a couple other doctors that I am researching into… Dr. Elrod and Dr. Bell. I wrote Dr. Bell an email… We’ll see how it goes from there.